Get the lowdown on investing in shares, from the different types available to the returns you can expect.

Withholding tax

This is a tax levied by an overseas government on dividends or income received by non-residents. For example, the US Government charges  30% on any income received from US investments for non-residents.

The UK government has ‘double taxation agreements’ in place with many countries to reduce the amount of tax paid by UK residents.

It may be possible for investors to reclaim all or part of the withholding tax paid. You will need to contact the relevant tax authorities to determine their requirements.

Are there any alternatives to shares?

If you’re looking to gain exposure to equities in your portfolio, than an investment fund could be a more efficient approach.

Funds can include thousands of companies, diversifying your holdings and reducing the impact of market downturns. It’s possible to get funds that screen out companies on environmental or ethical grounds.

You will have to pay a fee, although these can be very low for tracker funds.

Investing through a fund also means you won’t have any voting rights; you’ll be reliant on the fund manager to act in your interest.