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How do I sell shares that are listed on the NYSE?

Thursday 24th January 2002

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Q: I bought some shares on the NYSE, through a broker, some time ago. If I wanted to sell them in the future through someone like Access Brokerage, how do I go about it when I have no certificate or holder number etc. to prove my holding? Also, what are the tax implications for me on any capital gains? Do I pay tax or not?

A: Did you buy these shares through Access Brokerage? Who ever you purchased your American shares with will be holding them in a nominee account on your behalf. You should have received a letter informing you of this.

If you purchased your shares through a different broker than the one you wish to sell through, you will have to ask the purchasing broker to provide you with a certificate. This is done free of charge but it can take some time for your certificate to arrive from the United States. Once you have received your certificate you would take it to Access Brokerage and sign a transfer form. Access Brokerage would then send your transfer form with your certificate to the US. Your shares can't be sold until all the paperwork is received in the US.

Shares are almost always held in nominee accounts on behalf of clients, unless otherwise requested. This means that you can sell your shares almost instantly if you wish, rather than signing transfer forms and having to send physical certificates. NZ has a tax treaty with the United States, which means, at present, you are not liable for capital gains tax if you make a capital gains when you sell these shares. If the NZ IRD classes you as a trader you may be liable for capital gains tax in NZ.

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