We will elect to be taxed as a real estate investment trust ("REIT") under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the "Internal Revenue Code"), effective January 1, 2019. As such, we are now required to distribute annually 90% of our taxable net income. As long as we qualify as a REIT, we will generally not be subject to U.S. federal or state corporate taxes on our taxable net income to the extent that we distribute all of our annual taxable net income to our stockholders.
REIT distributions to stockholders will generally be taxable as ordinary income. However, a portion of such distributions may be designated by us as long-term capital gain to the extent that such portion is attributable to our sale of capital assets held for more than one year. If we pay distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits, such distributions will be treated as a tax-free return of capital to the extent of each stockholder's tax basis in our common stock and as capital gain thereafter. Stockholders will be notified of the proper tax characterization of EFC's dividends by way of IRS Form 1099-DIV following the close of each tax year.
Due to the complex nature of the applicable tax rules, it is recommended that stockholders consult their tax advisors to ensure proper tax treatment of dividends received.
The following table sets forth the dividends per share that Ellington Financial Inc. (the “Company”) has paid to its shareholders. The Company did not pay any dividends prior to 2009.
(*) For all periods prior to Q3 2014, for tax withholding purposes the entire dividend should be deemed as consisting entirely of Interest Income (U.S.) that Qualifies for the Portfolio Interest Exception (as described in §871 (h) of the Internal Revenue Code). However, for tax reporting purposes a U.S. shareholder is generally required to take into account its allocable share of the Company's taxable income as reported on its Schedule K-1 for the applicable year.
The Company does not provide advice on tax matters to its shareholders or to broker/nominees who hold the Company's shares on behalf of their customers. Withholding Information is provided for informational purposes only, is subject to change as more definitive information is obtained by the Company, and does not constitute tax advice. Non-U.S. holders of the Company's common shares and broker/nominees who hold shares on behalf of such holders are strongly urged to consult with their own tax advisors with regard to the U.S. federal income tax consequences of the dividends paid by the Company. This information is not intended to, and cannot, be used by any taxpayer to avoid penalties that may be imposed under U.S. federal income tax law.