The earnings of our subsidiaries, including our TRSs, are subject to federal corporate income tax to the extent that such subsidiaries are subchapter C corporations and are not qualified REIT subsidiaries ("QRS").
Requirements for Qualification-General
The Internal Revenue Code defines a REIT as a corporation, trust or association:
that is managed by one or more trustees or directors;
the beneficial ownership of which is evidenced by transferable shares, or by transferable certificates of beneficial interest;
that would be taxable as a domestic corporation but for its election to be subject to tax as a REIT;
that is neither a financial institution nor an insurance company subject to specific provisions of the Internal Revenue Code;
the beneficial ownership of which is held by 100 or more persons;
in which, during the last half of each taxable year, not more than 50% in value of the outstanding stock is owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer "individuals" (as defined in the Internal Revenue Code to include specified tax-exempt entities); and
which meets other tests described below, including with respect to the nature of its income and assets.
The Internal Revenue Code provides that conditions (1) through (4) must be met during the entire taxable year, and that condition (5) must be met during at least 335 days of a taxable year of 12 months. Our amended and restated articles of incorporation provides restrictions regarding the ownership and transfers of our stock, which are intended to assist us in satisfying the stock ownership requirements described in conditions (5) and (6) above.
To monitor compliance with the stock ownership requirements, we generally are required to maintain records regarding the actual ownership of our stock. To do so, we must demand written statements each year from the record holders of significant percentages of our stock pursuant to which the record holders must disclose the actual owners of the stock (i.e., the persons required to include our dividends in their gross income). We must maintain a list of those persons failing or refusing to comply with this demand as part of our records. We could be subject to monetary penalties if we fail to comply with these record-keeping requirements. If a stockholder fails or refuses to comply with the demands, the stockholder will be required by U.S. Treasury regulations to submit a statement with their tax return disclosing their actual ownership of our stock and other information.
The Internal Revenue Code provides relief from violations of the REIT gross income requirements, as described below under "Income Tests," in cases where a violation is due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect and other requirements are met, including the payment of a penalty tax that is based upon the magnitude of the violation. In addition, certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code extend similar relief in the case of certain violations of the REIT asset requirements (see "Asset Tests" below) and other REIT requirements, again provided that the violation is due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect and other conditions are met, including the payment of a penalty tax. If we fail to satisfy any of the various REIT requirements, there can be no assurance that these relief provisions would be available to enable us to maintain our qualification as a REIT, and, if such relief provisions are available, the amount of any resultant penalty tax could be substantial.
Effect of Taxable Subsidiaries
In general, we may jointly elect with a subsidiary corporation, whether or not wholly-owned, to treat such subsidiary corporation as a taxable REIT subsidiary. We generally may not own more than 10% of the securities of a taxable corporation, as measured by voting power or value, unless we and such taxable corporation elect to treat such corporation as a taxable REIT subsidiary. The separate existence of a taxable REIT subsidiary or other taxable corporation is not ignored for federal income tax purposes. Accordingly, such entities generally are subject to corporate income tax on their earnings, which may reduce the cash flow that we and our subsidiaries generate in the aggregate, and may reduce our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.
For determining compliance with the "Income Tests" and "Asset Tests" applicable to REITs described below, the gross income and assets of TRSs and other taxable subsidiaries are excluded. Instead, actual dividends paid to the REIT from such taxable subsidiaries, if any, are included in the REIT's gross income tests and the value of the REIT's net investment in such entities is included in the gross asset tests. Because the gross income and assets of a TRS or other taxable subsidiary corporations are excluded in determining compliance with the REIT requirements, we may use such entities to undertake indirectly activities that the REIT rules might otherwise preclude us from doing directly or through pass-through subsidiaries. For example, we may use