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UK taxation is governed by legislation and not uninformed opinions! Scrip dividends are taxable by virtue of sections 409 to 414A ITTOIA 2005 but these sections specifically state that they only to those issued by a UK resident company. Prior to the introduction of this legislation there was no charge on even on scrip dividends of UK companies.
There is no similar legislation for scrip dividends of non UK resident companies so these are outside the scope of charge. Reference has been made by other contributors to the information booklet issued by Santander and this states, at page 15, that:
'For UK tax purposes, your receipt of additional Santander shares should not give rise to
taxable income or to a disposal for the purposes of taxation of chargeable gains.'
The booklet also states that:
'This section of the document summarises certain tax consequences of the scrip dividend
scheme for holders of Santander shares. It is based on current law and on what is
understood to be current HM Revenue & Customs practice, in each case as at July 2016.'
I am not aware that HMRC 'practice' has changed, certainly the legislation has not.
If a non resident company were to apply a shareholder's dividend in purchasing shares in the market, this would be a different matter because the dividend would be paid and the purchase of shares would be as agent for the shareholder. That however would not be a scrip dividend scheme.