Four questions answered
The dividend is the proportion of Group net profit distributed to shareholders. At Air Liquide, it represents over 50% of our net profit, reflecting our commitment to sharing the fruits of our growth with our shareholders.
The dividend1 paid to our shareholders has risen 8.6% per year on average over the past 30 years2 (between 1987 and 2017).
1 Adjusted to take into account the 2007 stock split, the attribution of free shares and the capital increase linked to the acquisition of Airgas.
2 Calculated according to prevailing accounting rules over 30 years.
The amount of the dividend has to be approved by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting. In 2018, the dividend per share amounted to €2.65, which represents an increase of +12.4% taking into account the attribution in October 2017 of one free share for ten held.
Once approved, the dividen is paid automatically into your bank account, with no action required on your part. There is only one difference: if you are an intermediary registered shareholder or bearer shareholder, the dividend is paid initially to your bank, which will then credit it to your account.
The dividend is taxed in two stages.
When your dividend was paid in May 2017, two amounts were withheld at source based on your gross dividend amount:
When you pay your 2016 income tax in 2017, an unlimited annual deduction of 40% is applied to your gross dividend. Your income tax base is therefore equal to 60% of the gross dividend, less any handling fees. This taxable base is then subject to income tax calculated using a progressive scale. The advance payment of 21% withheld at the time dividends are paid is automatically deducted from your tax obligation.
The reference taxable income cited in the tax notice you receive in 2017 was less than €50,000 if you are single or €75,000 for a couple taxed jointly. In that case, you could send a sworn statement to your financial institution, if you hold intermediary registered or bearer shares, or to Air Liquide Shareholder Services if you hold direct registered shares, before November 30, 2017.
After that time, 12.8% of the gross dividend amount will automatically be withheld upon payment. In accordance with the law, this sworn statement must be renewed every year before November 30 of the year precedent the payment..
Taxation of dividends in France for those residing outside France for tax purposes.
A new statutory tax rate equal to 12.8% is applied by your account manager (Shareholder Services for direct registered Air Liquide shares, your financial institution for intermediary registered and bearer shares). However, in most cases, a tax agreement2 is signed between France and your country of residence. The main aim of this agreement is to set a flat tax rate which is withheld from your dividends.
To benefit from this rate, you must send form 50003 (corresponding to the request to apply the rate adopted in the agreement), completed and signed by the tax authorities of your place of residence, to your account manager by mid-April. This form must be resent to your account manager each year. Otherwise, the statutory rate of 12.8% will be applied upon payment of the dividend.
2 Tax agreement: a treaty between two countries aimed at avoiding the double-taxation of non-residents.
3 Cerfa form n°12816*01-02