Dividends on REITS, whether preferred or not, are taxable as ordinary income. The REIT, as a result of its structure, pays no tax, but must pass something like 90+% of "funds from operations" on to shareholders. The money is then taxed once after being paid to the shareholder. Many non-REIT preferreds are also taxable as ordinary income because the income to pay the dividend comes from bonds and is consequently "interest" as far as IRS is concerned, AES_PC is an example. The taxation of divvies is a very tricky business now that UNKA has bestowed his new "benefit".
So that raises the question; How does an investor determine if their non-REIT preferred stock dividend is taxed as ordinary interest or falls under the new 15% tax law for non-REIT common stock dividends?