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Difference between unit holder and shareholder

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Should you have a Shareholder or Partnership Agreement? The answer is probably yes. A partnership is an association of persons carrying on a business in common with a view of profit. A shareholder is a person who owns shares in a company, and a unit holder is a person holding units in a unit trust. Whilst it is best to make a Shareholder or Partnership Agreement at the start of a business, an agreement can be made at any time. The existence of an agreement will prevent or reduce the likelihood of disputes occurring later on and could save legal costs in the long run.

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Shareholder & Unitholder Agreements

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On the face of it, unit trusts and companies may seem like similar structures. For example, they both allow participants to have a proportionate interest in the structure: units in a unit trust and shares in a company.

However, they do have key legal and tax differences which will affect your decision as to which structure is best for you business operations. You should therefore understand the advantages and disadvantages of both structures. This article explains the difference between a unit trust and a company , so you can choose which is most suitable for your situation. A trust is not a separate legal entity. It is a way for the trustee to hold property and income on behalf of others, namely unitholders.

Here, the unitholders have a fixed entitlement to the income and capital of the trust in proportion to their units.

This is unlike a discretionary trust , where the trustee decides how and when to distribute income to beneficiaries. Instead, unitholders pay tax on their proportion of the trust income. An individual trustee may incur personal liability if they breach their fiduciary duties as trustee for their trust. A fiduciary is a person who holds a legal or ethical relationship of trust with one or more parties.

For example, as a fiduciary, a trustee has a duty to act in the best interests of the unitholders. Unit trusts may have corporate trustees to limit any liability incurred by the trustee to that corporate entity and protect the assets of the unit trust. Furthermore, unit trusts are predominantly governed by their unit trust deed which establishes the trust.

It is also useful for a unit trust to have a unitholders agreement or shareholders agreement , setting out the management and decision-making of the unit trust and its corporate trustee. A company is a separate legal entity and therefore holds assets and income in its own name.

The key participants in a company are the:. Companies are their own legal entity and shareholders do not have direct entitlements to particular assets or income of the company. Therefore, the company pays tax in its own right.

However, shareholders may have individual income tax obligations in circumstances where the directors choose to distribute dividends to them. It is also useful for a company to have a shareholders agreement if the company has multiple shareholders. This agreement sets out the management and decision-making of the company.

The imputation system avoids double taxation on dividends paid to shareholders. Unitholders taxed on their share of the unit trust income. Undistributed trust income will attract tax at the highest marginal rate.

This is inconvenient for businesses requiring ongoing working capital. Commerciality Investors can subscribe for shares in exchange for an investment.

Investors can apply to the trustee for units and pay for units. Method to end A company can last forever. A company can be wound voluntarily. This can happen by court order, or by deregistration by ASIC.

The unit trust deed will set out a vesting date or termination date when the trust property will vest to unitholders, typically 80 years from the date of establishment of the trust. The main advantages of a company are that it:. On the other hand, the main advantages of a unit trust are that it:. If your business needs a lot of working capital, or has growth plans and wants to take on investors in future, a company may be the most appropriate structure. Is there a difference between a unit trust and a company?

The answer is yes, as they both have their respective advantages and disadvantages. Which structure is most appropriate for your business will depend on your particular business operations and plans. You should therefore understand the main differences between the structures. About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

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Questions, comments or complaints? Reach out on or email us at info legalvision. Search for: Cancel Search. What is a Unit Trust? What is a Company? The key participants in a company are the: directors , who manage the company and make the day-to-day decisions of the business; and shareholders , who are the owners and in many instances the capital contributors of the business.

Key Differences Company Unit Trust Main Feature Separate legal entity carrying on business for its own benefit, managed by directors and owned by shareholders.

Trustee carries on business for the benefit of unitholders, to whom distribution of capital and income is made in proportion to their units. Legal fees for preparing unit trust deed and any stamp duty payable.

Accountancy fees for tax return preparation and financial statements. Liability A company is a separate legal entity, so its assets, debts and liabilities are treated as separate from that of directors and shareholders.

An individual trustee may be sued in their personal capacity. By having a corporate trustee, you can achieve some limitation of liability. The main advantages of a company are that it: provides legal protection for participants because it is its own legal entity; allows business to retain profit and use it as working capital; and is easier to understand and therefore more attractive to investors.

Key Takeaways Is there a difference between a unit trust and a company? Was this article helpful? We appreciate your feedback — your submission has been successfully received.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Request Quote. Read other articles by Sophie. What Can I Do? Facebook Twitter LinkedIn. Replaceable Rules small business unitholders agreement company corporation shareholders unit trust directors corporations act shareholders agreement business structuring.

Our Awards. Privacy Policy Snapshot We collect and store information about you. Let us explain why we do this. Separate legal entity carrying on business for its own benefit, managed by directors and owned by shareholders. Annual ASIC renewal fees and accountancy fees for tax return preparation and financial statements.

A company is a separate legal entity, so its assets, debts and liabilities are treated as separate from that of directors and shareholders. Investors can subscribe for shares in exchange for an investment. A company can last forever.

Partnership, Shareholder & Unitholder Agreements

A shareholders agreement regulates the rights and responsibilities between the shareholders of a company. Similarly, where the business operates as a unit trust, a unitholder agreement governs the relationship between each unitholder. These agreements are fundamental to any business, setting out the respective rights between co-owners and the provisions that will apply in response to certain contingencies and unforeseen events. Unfortunately, with the enthusiasm of a new business opportunity, the benefits of a structured agreement are sometimes overlooked. This can put your new venture at risk and cause undue stress when something unexpected occurs or when co-owners are unable to resolve a disagreement.

A unit holder is a beneficiary of a unit trust. A unit holder accepts units in a unit trust in a similar fashion to a shareholder accepting shares in a company. Most units are fully paid and have equal rights.

On the face of it, unit trusts and companies may seem like similar structures. For example, they both allow participants to have a proportionate interest in the structure: units in a unit trust and shares in a company. However, they do have key legal and tax differences which will affect your decision as to which structure is best for you business operations. You should therefore understand the advantages and disadvantages of both structures.

What is the Difference Between a Unit Trust and a Company?

A unitholder is an investor who owns the securities of a trust, like a real estate investment trust REIT or a master limited partnership MLP. The securities issued by trusts and MLPs are called units, and investors in units are called unitholders. Certain types of trusts and MLPs can be bought and sold on U. But instead of purchasing the shares of companies and becoming shareholders, investors in trusts purchase units and become unitholders. Unitholders and shareholders have different names because each is holding a different type of asset and has a different set of rights. For example, though unitholders possess some voting rights, those rights are often more limited than those of corporate shareholders. Another difference is in the tax treatment of distributions made to unitholders versus shareholders. Distributions received by unitholders are designated as pass-through income.

Unitholder

A unitholder is an investor who owns one or more units in an investment trust or master limited partnership MLP. A unit is equivalent to a share, or piece of interest. Unitholders are afforded specific rights that are outlined in the trust declaration, which governs the trust's actions. The most common type of unit trust is an investment vehicle that pools funds from investors to purchase a portfolio of assets.

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What is a unit holder?

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Jun 4, - A unit holder accepts units in a unit trust in a similar fashion to a and not subject to the same regulation as shareholders in companies, making it an What are the main differences between a company and a unit trust?

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