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A specific division of the trust fund into units for the beneficiaries is made in a unit trust. Each beneficiary of a unit trust purchases a unit, much like how stockholders purchase shares in a firm.
A unit trust’s beneficiary is a unit holder. Just like a shareholder accepts corporation shares, a unit holder accepts units in a unit trust. Most units have equal rights and are fully paid. These units represent a stake in trust assets.
What is a unit holder?
An investor who owns the securities of a trust, such as a real estate investment trust or master limited partnership, is known as a unit holder. Units are the name given to the securities that trusts and master limited partnerships (MLPs) issue, and unit holders hold the units.
Any profit is dispersed to unit holders proportionately to the number of units owned after each year or cycle. The fact that these units are freely transferable and exempt from the same regulations as company shareholders makes them a desirable choice for a corporate structure.
Understanding unit holders
A wide variety of risk/reward possibilities are available to investors in these unit trusts. Also, compared to an exchange-traded fund (ETF), a unit trust tends to be less liquid, and the price of the traded unit may not be the same as the net asset value (NAV) of the unit trust per share. However, the unitholder gains access to a portfolio of securities and can exchange units whenever they choose.
A person becomes a unit holder in the fund the minute he contributes to its common equity. The subscription may be made at any time, either during the initial establishment of the fund or once it has already been established.
You can also withdraw entirely or partially from it at any moment. Each unit holder in a fund owns a fraction proportionate to the value of their contributions, and the number of unit holders in a fund varies. The unit holder bears a proportionate share of any increases or reductions in the equity’s value.
Unit holder taxation
If the units are kept in a taxable account, unit holders of unit trusts must pay income taxes on the interest, dividends, and capital gains issued to them. All unit holders get an IRS Form 1099 from the unit trusts, usually a 1099-INT or 1099-DIV. A Schedule K-1 reports each unit holder’s share of income, profits, deductions, losses, and credits in master limited partnerships (MLPs).
Unit investment trusts can qualify for a new tax deduction under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in 2017. Non-corporate taxpayers can deduct up to 20% of the qualifying business income from each pass-through firm they own using the qualified business income deduction or 199A deduction.
Importance of unit holder
Unitholders and shareholders hold a unique form of assets and have a unique set of rights. For instance, while unitholders have some voting rights, they are frequently more restricted than corporate shareholders’ privileges.
Distributions given to shareholders are taxed differently from those provided to unit holders, which is another distinction. Unit-holder distributions are categorized as pass-through revenue. Pass-through income is solely taxed at the individual level; it has never been taxed at the corporate level.
The controversial practice known as double-taxation occurs when shareholders pay individual income tax on top of dividends they receive from money that has already been subject to corporate tax.
Example of a unit holder
Consider a scenario where a potential investor is considering purchasing units in a real estate investment trust (REIT). Having done their research, the investor chooses to buy Prologis, Inc. (PLD) shares, the biggest real estate company in the world, since he likes the assets in the portfolio and their potential for growth in the current market. The unit holder will be taxed on all income received as pass-through income.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some advantages of being a unit holder:
- Unlike a corporation, a unit trust is exempt from paying taxes. The beneficiary is required to pay income tax on the share of the trust’s profits that he receives. Similarly, trusts benefit from a 50% capital gains tax discount when selling assets, which can be passed on to the beneficiaries if the trust is set up properly.
- In contrast to a corporation, a trust is less strictly governed. Trusts are not subject to the same restrictions that apply to companies under the law, ASX, and ASIC. They can also be wound up more easily than corporations.
- Holders of unit trusts benefit from both internal and external asset protection. The beneficiaries cannot claim the trust’s assets because they have no legal claim to the trust’s property. As a result, the creditors of any beneficiary unable to pay their debts cannot collect the trust assets as payment.
The following are some disadvantages of being a unit holder:
- Market risk is the chance that shifting market and economic conditions will cause the value of your investment in a unit trust to increase or decrease.
- Interest rate risk is the risk that refers to the possibility that if interest rates increase, the value of your investment in a unit trust will decline.
- Political risk is the chance that a particular nation’s political and economic unrest could impact the value of your investment in a unit trust.
- Exchange rate risk is the chance that your investment in a unit trust could lose value if the exchange rates between two nations change.
Ownership of a beneficial interest (or “unit”) in a financial organization, such as an investment trust, is considered unit holding.
A unit trust is a mutual fund in which a fund manager manages money from numerous investors (known as “unit holders”) to provide a particular return. Then, this fund manager compiles a portfolio of securities and assets.
A unit holder may be a single person, a group of persons, a business, the trustee of another trust, a family trust, or any combination of these.
The beneficiaries purchase the units like how stockholders purchase shares of a corporation. A beneficiary (or unit holder) of an ordinary unit trust is entitled to the trust’s income and capital in proportion to the number of units held.
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