Transfer pricing and insurance structures in the BEPS Era

Author: Roxanna Nyiri, Director, BDO Tax. Insurance in todays world is no longer limited to a single country and has over the last few decades seen interesting global developments. Reinsurance and cell captive insurance have become an integral part of enterprise risk management. Reinsurance and cell captive insurance not only provide business with tools to manage their risk, limit their cost of insurance, but also to hedge against currency fluctuations. These developments, of course, also have their own unique tax consequences, especially where they span jurisdictional borders. With the advent of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Developments (OECDs) Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiatives, tax authorities across the globe are scrutinising insurance structures from a tax perspective, especially with regard to transfer pricing. This increased scrutiny often leads to the cross border pricing related to intercompany insurance related transactions being challenged.

No tax relief in sight for home buyers

Author: Alistair Anderson (BDlive) Given the state of the economy and the pressure on the fiscus in terms of tax revenue, there is unlikely to be any transfer duty tax relief in Wednesday’s budget for home buyers, especially at the upper end of the market. “Last year saw a meaningful shift of the transfer duty tax burden from the lower to the upper and luxury end of the market, with buyers paying 11% per R1m where the purchase price for the property is above R2.25m. Surprisingly we saw very little impact, if any, on the market at the upper end as a result of the increase in transfer duties,” said Jawitz Properties CEO Herschel Jawitz on Friday.

Taxpayer's rights on SARS audits

The Tax Administration Act, Act 28 of 2011 (the TAA) came into effect on 1 October 2012. Its promulgation brought with it many changes to not only taxpayers’ rights and obligations but the reciprocal rights and obligations on the part of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in its continuous business of revenue collection. Some of the amendments and repeals of sections previously contained in the Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962 (the Act) have seen a welcome improvement in taxpayers’ rights. One of these improvements is contained in section 42 of the TAA.

Conversion of a share block scheme into sectional title – exemption from transfer duty

With effect from 1 January 2013 transfer duty is no longer payable in respect of a transaction contemplated in item 8 of schedule 1 of the Share Blocks Control Act, No 59 of 1980, whereby a right to or interest in the use of immovable property conferred by virtue of the ownership of a share in a share block company is converted to ownership of the immovable property concerned.

Shuttleworth takes Reserve Bank to court

Pretoria – Billionaire IT entrepreneur and the first South African in space, Mark Shuttleworth, has turned to the Pretoria High Court in a bid to recover the 10 percent exit levy (more than R250 million) imposed on him by the South African Reserve Bank when he transferred more than R2 billion out of the country. His legal team, headed by Gilbert Marcus SC, on Monday asked Judge Francis Legodi to set aside the decision by the Reserve Bank that he had to pay this amount – and he wants to be refunded.

Year in Review – 2012 Tax Developments in South Africa

During 2012 a number of significant amendments were made to the tax legislation in South Africa. This report provides a brief description of certain of these amendments which may be of interest to foreign companies that conduct business in South Africa as well as those seeking investment opportunities in South Africa.

SARS–Transfer Duty Guide

Today, Sars issued a new guide for transfer duty, it replaces the previous issue, Transfer Duty Handbook that was issued in March The new guide contains a discussion of the application of the Transfer Duty Act 40 of 1949, in respect of transactions involving immovable property such as land, buildings and other real rights in connection with immovable property situated in South Africa. Although fairly comprehensive, the guide does not deal with an analysis of all the legal detail which may sometimes be necessary when dealing with immovable property transactions. However, it has been necessary to include a certain amount of technical and legal terminology in explaining certain concepts which underpin the transfer duty legislation.

SARS and your bank account

On 29 February 2012, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) issued a notice in Government Gazette No 35090 (Notice No 173) relating to the liability of certain institutions, most notably banks, to furnish SARS with financial information about taxpayers. The notice was issued in terms of s69 of the Income Tax Act, No 58 of 1962, which section has been superseded by s26 of the Tax Administration Act, No 28 of 2011 (TAA).