‘Where to from here’ if I miss Vodafone date?

Q&A Dominic Coyle


I have 350 Vod afone shares. Other than seeing on my bank statement a dividend lodged I have taken very little interest in the affair up to now.

I did not fill in the form as requested at the time. It just got thrown out. I have sent in for a replacement which I probably will not get in time.

And worse, I cannot find the certificate! I do have a reference number and I have requested a new certificate. Where to from here?

Ms O.B., email

If you have not got the forms by now it is almost certainly too late to get them back before the deadline. As a result, you will pay tax on the value of the “return of value”.

With 350 shares, the payout is €437. If you are a top rate PAYE taxpayer, the tax bill will be €227.50; if you are self-employed, it could be up to €240. If you are a basic rate taxpayer, you could still lose over €135 from your €437.

You will be able to choose whether to sell the 10 or fewer Verizon shares that you receive as part of the deal. That decision can be indicated on the second white form (Dealing Form) that you will receive and has an April 4th deadline.

Don’t worry about the share certificate. After this transaction and an associated consolidation that will halve the number of Vodafone shares you hold, Vodafone will issue new certificates and you will simply shred the one you have just requested – and any other one you find lying around.

In any case, if you don’t get that first white form – the Form of Election: Return of Value” – back to Computershare by Thursday lunchtime, it won’t matter as you will come under the default option. That means your Vodafone shares will henceforth be held electronically by Computershare and you will not receive any certificate.

How do I avoid tax on Vodafone shares?

On the form of election, could you just tell me what numbers do I fill in if I do not want to be liable for tax? When I read it I think number 1 for currency and number 2 for capital payment. Is this correct?

When I phoned Vodafone they would not give me any advice I just want to get any cash that is due and any new shares with Verizon without having to pay tax.

Ms I.C., email

Assuming you got the shares in the original Eircom flotation back in 1999, you’re right. On the white Form of Election: Return of Value, section 1 relates to currency (default is the euro, which should be fine for you) and section 2 presents the critical choice of income or capital. Income is the default: you want capital, so put an X in the white square. On section 3, having new Vodafone shares held electronically is the default: if you want a share certificate instead, mark the box with an X. Don’t forget to sign the form at section 4 . . . and get it in the post first thing this morning. You might just get it back in time.

How can I sell Vodafone shares?

I became aware only last Friday that something was happening with Vodafone shares and realise I have missed a February deadline for the return of documentation. If I ever received that documentation, I certainly don’t have it any more. I believe there is another deadline in April and would be glad to know what documentation I need to return for that deadline ?

I have, I think, about 350 Vodafone shares and would like to get rid of them. How do I go about doing that? What would it cost? I doubt I have a share certificate – does that create difficulties?

Ms C.Q., email

It’s amazing how many people were unaware of this sale and shareholder payout for so long. Following a piece in the paper last Friday about the deadline, the helpline was jammed with calls rom Irish shareholders. I would say that there is very little point in owning shares unless people are prepared to take at least a passing interest in what is happening with the company they have invested in.

You have certainly missed the deadline for indicating how you want to receive the payout so you will be taxed (see the first response above).You can still indicate on a white “Dealing Form” if you want Computershare to dispose of the Verizon shares you are receiving as part of the deal. The deadline for this decision is April 4th, but please don’t leave it to the last minute. You can get the necessary form by ringing the Computershare helpline 01 6968421 and requesting it.

Without your share certificate, you won’t be able to sell your shares. After this deal, your new holding in Vodafone will be held electronically by Computershare and you will get details of it from them. You will be able to sell the shares after February 24th or thereabouts but I would take a look at the value of them then before making a final decision. You will have to pay stockbroker costs to do so.

Please send your queries to Dominic Coyle, Q&A, The Irish Times, 24-28 Tara St reet, Dublin 2, or e mail to dcoyle@irish-times.ie. This column is a reader service and is not intended to replace professional

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