This excerpt taken from the HPT 10-K filed Mar 1, 2007.
General Requirements. Section 856(a) of the Internal Revenue Code defines a REIT as a corporation, trust or association:
(1) that is managed by one or more trustees or directors;
(2) the beneficial ownership of which is evidenced by transferable shares or by transferable certificates of beneficial interest;
(3) that would be taxable, but for Sections 856 through 859 of the Internal Revenue Code, as a C corporation;
(4) that is not a financial institution or an insurance company subject to special provisions of the Internal Revenue Code;
(5) the beneficial ownership of which is held by 100 or more persons;
(6) that is not closely held as defined under the personal holding company stock ownership test, as described below; and
(7) that meets other tests regarding income, assets and distributions, all as described below.
Section 856(b) of 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, or during a pro rata part of a taxable year of less than 12 months. Section 856(h)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code provides that neither condition (5) nor (6) need be met for our first taxable year as a REIT. We believe that we have met conditions (1) through (7) during each of the requisite periods ending on or before our most recently completed
taxable year, and that we can continue to meet these conditions in future taxable years. There can, however, be no assurance in this regard.
By reason of condition (6), we will fail to qualify as a REIT for a taxable year if at any time during the last half of a year more than 50% in value of our outstanding shares is owned directly or indirectly by five or fewer individuals. To help comply with condition (6), our declaration of trust restricts transfers of our shares. In addition, if we comply with applicable Treasury regulations to ascertain the ownership of our shares and do not know, or by exercising reasonable diligence would not have known, that we failed condition (6), then we will be treated as having met condition (6). However, our failure to comply with these regulations for ascertaining ownership may result in a penalty of $25,000, or $50,000 for intentional violations. Accordingly, we intend to comply with these regulations, and to request annually from record holders of significant percentages of our shares information regarding the ownership of our shares. Under our declaration of trust, our shareholders are required to respond to these requests for information.
For purposes of condition (6), REIT shares held by a pension trust are treated as held directly by the pension trusts beneficiaries in proportion to their actuarial interests in the pension trust. Consequently, five or fewer pension trusts could own more than 50% of the interests in an entity without jeopardizing that entitys federal income tax qualification as a REIT. However, as discussed below, if a REIT is a pension-held REIT, each pension trust owning more than 10% of the REITs shares by value generally may be taxed on a portion of the dividends it receives from the REIT.
The Internal Revenue Code provides that we will not automatically fail to be a REIT if we do not meet conditions (1) through (6), provided we can establish reasonable cause for any such failure. Each such excused failure will result in the imposition of a $50,000 penalty instead of REIT disqualification. It is impossible to state whether in all circumstances we would be entitled to the benefit of this relief provision. This relief provision applies to any failure of the applicable conditions, even if the failure first occurred in a prior taxable year, as long as each of the requirements of the relief provision is satisfied after October 22, 2004.