Does a trust require an independent trustee

Often, when dealing with our clients trust matters, we are asked whether the clients brother/sister/closest friend would be a suitable independent trustee for their trust. Although not required in terms of the Trust Property Control Act, it has become practice because of various case law and rulings, to appoint a truly independent trustee. This challenges the way most family trusts have historically functioned.

Potential amendments affecting foreign trusts holding shares in foreign companies

Author: Joon Chong, Tax Partner at Webber Wentzel. National Treasury has held a few workshops this year to engage with stakeholders on proposed amendments before the draft amendment bills are circulated for comment. At one of these workshops attended by the Webber Wentzel Tax Team, National Treasury indicated that there could be amendments in the draft bills which would affect resident beneficiaries and donors to foreign trusts, where these foreign trusts hold shares in foreign companies.

Trusts: More bad news, with one silver lining

Author: Louis Botha (Associate at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr). On 1 March 2017, s7C of the Income Tax Act, No 58 of 1962 (Act) came into effect. On 1 March 2017, s7C of the Income Tax Act, No 58 of 1962 (Act) came into effect. One of the reasons for introducing this provision was to prevent taxpayers from avoiding estate duty, by selling assets to a trust on loan account, which loan account they would then extinguish by making use of their annual donations tax exemption of R100,000. Section 7C addresses this avoidance, by providing, amongst other things, that the trust must pay interest on such loan, advance or credit, but only where the trust and the natural person are connected persons, such as where the natural person is a beneficiary of the trust. Where the trust does not pay interest on the loan to the natural person or pays interest Read More …

Trusts the new position

On 19 January 2017 the Taxation Laws Amendment Act, No 16 of 2016 (2016 Amendment Act) came into effect. The 2016 Amendment Act introduced s7C into the Income Tax Act, No 58 of 1962 (Act) which provision will come into effect on 1 March 2017. Section 7C will bring about some important changes to the tax dispensation applicable to trusts.

Will trusts still be the way to go? The new Section 7C proposed by the Draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill

For a number of years, National Treasury indicated that it intended tightening up the tax provisions applicable to trusts. On 8 July 2016, the Draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill (Draft TLAB) and the Explanatory Memorandum on the Draft TLAB (Explanatory Memorandum) were released by National Treasury. The Draft TLAB proposes to introduce a new s7C into the Income Tax Act, No 58 of 1962 (Act), which will have far-reaching tax consequences for trusts and persons utilising trusts as an investment vehicle, if it is enacted in its present form.

Deferring tax by using unit trusts

Investors in shares are able to defer capital gains tax (CGT) using unit trusts. The deferral works as follows: Section 42 of the Income Tax Act, No 58 of 1962 (IT Act) allows a taxpayer to transfer listed shares to a company free of immediate tax consequences if certain requirements are met. One requirement is that the shares must be transferred in exchange for equity shares in the transferee company. If the requirements are met the taxpayer suffers no CGT or securities transfer tax (STT) in relation to the shares transferred. The taxpayer must account for CGT in future when it disposes of the equity shares it has acquired in exchange for the assets.

Taxation Laws Amendment Bill released for comment

Authors: Bernard du Plessis and Peter Dachs (ENSafrica). The Taxation Laws Amendment Bill 2016 has been released for public comment. It introduces various interesting amendments to South Africas tax law, which include the following: Use of trusts In circumstances where an interest-free loan has been advanced to a trust by a connected person (which includes a beneficiary or a relative of a beneficiary), it is proposed that a market-related rate of interest (currently 8%) is deemed to be paid on that loan. This deemed interest will not be tax deductible in the hands of the trust but will be taxable in the hands of the lender and will not qualify for an interest exemption.

Tax Administration – Onus of proof for understatement penalty

As a basic principle, under section 102(1) of the Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011 (the TAA), the onus of proof that an amount is not taxable or that an amount is deductible, rests on the taxpayer, whereas under section 102(2) of the TAA, the onus of proof pertaining to the facts upon which an understatement penalty is imposed, is upon the South African Revenue Service (SARS). Too often, upon the conclusion of investigations or reviews, SARS threatens exorbitant understatement penalties for seemingly innocuous and easily resolvable queries. A good example is the classic turnover/expenditure reconciliation process which could produce, in certain instances, horrendous results for a taxpayer where the calculations are devoid of commercial logic.

Taxing measures to curb trust fund tricks

Author: Maarten Mittner (BDlive). The tax efficiency of trusts may have taken a knock after the latest budget proposals, but trusts are likely still to remain viable wealth-preserving instruments. Some analysts have raised alarm at the possible negative consequences of the new proposals, but others remain optimistic. The days of using trusts to avoid tax or reduce a tax burden, however, may be over. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan had harsh words for trusts in last months budget. In the review, he said the governments aim was to keep the tax system progressive. Some taxpayers used trusts to avoid paying estate duty and donations tax, the review said.