Category: Business (page 1 of 4)

ARTIKEL 24C TOEKOMSTIGE UITGAWES

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Inkomstediens (“SAID”) het op 10 Januarie 2019 ’n bindende privaatbeslissing (“BPR 315”) in ooreenstemming met artikels 78(1) en 87(2) van die Wet op Belastingadministrasie[1], uitgereik. Hierdie beslissing bepaal die toepassing van die definisie van “toekomstige uitgawes” in artikel 24C (1) van die Wet op Inkomstebelasting[2], op ’n kommoditeits-koopooreenkoms.

Die aansoeker (’n inwonende maatskappy) en ’n nie-inwonende bedryfsmaatskappy (Opco) sal ’n tussenmaatskappy-ooreenkoms aangaan vir die verskaffing van koopkrediete verteenwoordigend van hoeveelhede van sekere kommoditeite wat deur Opco gemyn word. Die aansoeker sal op sy beurt hierdie koopkrediete aan die koper (ook ’n nie-inwonende bedryfsmaatskappy) verkoop kragtens ’n 40-jaar koopooreenkoms[3].

Die koper moet ’n voorskot aan die aansoeker betaal vir die verkoop en lewering van die krediete. Geen gedeelte van hierdie betaling sal terugbetaal word nie en die aansoeker moet dit gebruik om die uitgawes wat hy sal aangaan met die nakoming van sy kontraktuele verpligtinge, te finansier.

Die koper sal ook produksiebetalings in kontant maak met die lewering van die krediete. Die koopooreenkoms maak voorsiening vir ’n gedetailleerde berekening van hierdie betalings, met sekere bedrae wat teen die voorskotbedrag gekrediteer moet word. Enige voorskot wat aan die einde van die kontraktermyn oorbly, sal aangewend word as ’n bykomende koopprys vir krediete wat reeds kragtens die kontrak gelewer is.

Aangesien bedrae teen die vroegste van ontvangs of oploping belas word, sal die voorskot in die aansoeker se belasbare inkomste ingesluit word in die jaar wat dit ontvang is.

Artikel 24C bied verligting aan ’n belastingpligtige wat ’n voorskot ingevolge ’n kontrak ontvang het, en wat in die toekoms uitgawes sal aangaan onder daardie kontrak. Die korting kan nie die bedrag ontvang of opgeloop ingevolge die kontrak, oorskry nie en moet in die daaropvolgende jaar bygevoeg word by die belastingpligtige se belasbare inkomste. Die toelae is verder onderworpe aan die Kommissaris[4] se diskresie en belastingbetalers moet die uitgawes wat aangegaan moet word, akkuraat raam om hul verpligtinge ingevolge die spesifieke kontrak na te kom. Dog, ’n berekening wat gegrond is op die verhouding tussen die totale beraamde uitgawe en die beraamde bruto inkomste uit die kontrak (d.w.s die kontrak se bruto winspersentasie) word algemeen aanvaar.

Met hierdie beslissing het die SAID bevestig dat die uitgawes wat aangegaan word om die krediete te bekom, toekomstige uitgawes sal wees soos beoog in artikel 24C (1). Daar is egter nie beslis oor die bepaling van die korting soos beoog in artikel 24C (2) of enige prysing- en oordragprysingsaspekte nie.

[1] No. 28 van 2011.

[2] No. 58 van 1962. Enige verdere verwysings na “artikels” is na die artikels van hierdie Wet.

[3] Die kontrak kan verleng word vir opeenvolgende 10-jaar periodes totdat Opco ophou om te bedryf.

[4] Kommissaris van die Suid-Afrikaanse Inkomstediens (“SAID”).

Hierdie artikel is ʼn algemene inligtingsblad en moet nie as professionele advies beskou word nie. Geen verantwoordelikheid word aanvaar vir enige foute, verlies of skade wat ondervind word as gevolg  van die gebruik van enige inligting vervat in hierdie artikel nie. Kontak altyd ʼn finansiële raadgewer vir spesifieke en gedetailleerde advies. (E&OE)

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MANAGEMENT’S RESPONSIBILITY

Throughout the audit of a set of financial statements, the phrase “management/director’s responsibility” appears. It is included in the engagement letter, the financial statements and the auditor’s report.  But what does it mean?

Management is responsible for the management of the business, for implementing and monitoring of internal controls in the business, and in terms of the Companies Act (“the Act”), for maintaining adequate accounting records and the content and integrity of the financial statements.  These financial statements must be issued annually to reflect the results thereof.

These financial statements are used by various users (shareholders, directors, banks, SARS, etc.) to make certain decisions (buying and selling of shares, valuations, credit terms, etc.), and therefore need to be a true representation of the business.  It is therefore critical that all transactions are valid, are recorded accurately and completely in the correct financial year, are classified correctly, and that all assets and liabilities that exist are recorded at the true cost/value thereof.

In terms of the Act, financial statements are to be prepared using either International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) or IFRS for Small to Medium-sized Entities (“IFRS for SME’s”).  Luckily management is not responsible to be experts in the above-mentioned standards, as the Act does allow for management to delegate the task of preparing the financial statements to someone with the knowledge and skill set to be able to perform this task.  The Act does, however, not allow management to delegate the responsibilities that go along with it too, so they need to ensure that when they do delegate the task, that it is to a responsible person and that they review the financial statements before approving it.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice.  Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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WAARDASIE VAN VOORKEURAANDELE

Wanneer dit kom by inkomstebelasting, veroorsaak die kwessie van waardasie van aandele dikwels ’n groot mate van onsekerheid, veral waar aandele nie op ’n erkende beurs verhandel word nie. Alhoewel die Agtste Skedule van die Inkomstebelastingwet[1] in paragraaf 31 ’n bietjie leiding gee oor die markwaarde van sekere bates, is die ‘allesinsluitende’ metode die prys wat verkry sou kon word by die verkoop van ’n bate tussen ’n gewillige koper en ’n gewillige verkoper wat op armlengte in die oop mark handel.

Die reëls van kapitaalwinsbelasting bepaal dat persone op die datum van hulle dood geag word hul bates van die hand te sit (behalwe vir ’n beperkte getal uitsluitings) vir ’n bedrag gelykstaande aan die markwaarde van daardie bates. Markwaarde, en hoe dit bepaal moet word, is dus ‘n baie belangrike oorweging.

Die Hoogste Hof van Appèl het onlangs in CSARS v The Executors of Estate Late Sidney Ellerine 2018 ZASCA 39 ‘n bietjie meer leiding gegee oor die waardasie van voorkeuraandele in so ’n geval, deur die regte wat op daardie voorkeuraandele betrekking het, te oorweeg. Die Suid-Afrikaanse Inkomstediens (SAID) het aangevoer dat ten tye van die oorledene se dood hy geregtig was om voorkeuraandele wat hy in ’n maatskappy gehou het, te omskep in gewone aandele en dat die aandele op daardie basis gewaardeer moes word. Dit was ’n belangrike oorweging, aangesien dit die verskil gemaak het tussen die aandele wat ter waarde van R563 miljoen gewaardeer is, teenoor die nominale waarde van R112 000.

Nadat die Belastinghof aanvanklik bevind het dat die oorledene nie geregtig was om die voorkeuraandele in gewone aandele te omskep nie, het die Hoogste Hof van Appèl sekere wysigings wat in die maatskappy se Memorandum van Inkorporasie (soos dit toe was) aangebring is, asook twee spesiale resolusies, oorweeg. Feitelik, op grond van hierdie dokumente, het die hof bevind dat die oorledene inderdaad geregtig was om die voorkeuraandele op die datum van sy dood om te skakel na gewone aandele. Die aandele moes dus op R563 miljoen gewaardeer word, in plaas van R112 000.

Daar is twee belangrike lesse wat uit hierdie uitspraak geleer kan word. Eerstens, die presedent wat geskep is dat waar ‘n persoon die reg het om voorkeuraandele tot gewone aandele te omskep, die voorkeuraandele op daardie basis gewaardeer moet word.

Tweedens moet die ware bedoeling van partye weerspieël word in die bewoording en konstruksie van alle dokumente. Die regspan vir die respondent in die Ellerine-saak het sterk geargumenteer dat ’n doelgerigte en kontekstuele benadering gevolg moet word by die oorweging van die Memorandum van Inkorporasie en spesiale resolusies. Die hof was egter nie oortuig nie en het aangedui dat alhoewel bedoeling belangrik is, die basiese interpretasie gemaak moet word met verwysing na wat opgeteken is. Belastingbetalers word aangemoedig om professionele advies te verkry voor die uitvoering van ooreenkomste om te verseker dat hulle ware bedoeling en die doel waarvoor hulle uitvoering gee aan dokumente, duidelik blyk uit die bewoording wat gebruik word.

Soos  gesien kan word uit die Ellerine-saak kan versuim om dit te doen, baie duur wees.

[1] Nr. 58 van 1962

Hierdie artikel is ʼn algemene inligtingsblad en moet nie as professionele advies beskou word nie. Geen verantwoordelikheid word aanvaar vir enige foute, verlies of skade wat ondervind word as gevolg  van die gebruik van enige inligting vervat in hierdie artikel nie. Kontak altyd ʼn finansiële raadgewer vir spesifieke en gedetailleerde advies. (E&OE)

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UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES CAN A PRIVATE COMPANY AND/OR CLOSE CORPORATION BE DEREGISTERED?

During the registration of a company or close corporation that entity acquires a legal personality. This legal personality comes to an end when the directors and/or members decide to deregister the entity. A company or close corporation can be deregistered in one or more of the following ways:

  • by means of a request from the directors and/or members of the company or close corporation or a similar request by a third party in instances where the entity is no longer trading, has no assets or liabilities and there is no reasonable likelihood that it will be liquidated;
  • by means of a request from the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) in instances where a company or close corporation’s prescribed annual returns have been outstanding for two years or longer;
  • by means of a request from the CIPC when it is found that a company or close corporation has for at least seven years been inactive and no person has demonstrated a reasonable interest in the continued existence of the entity; and
  • in instances where the registration of the company and/or close corporation is transferred to a foreign jurisdiction.

In terms of Article 33 of the Companies Act No. 71 of 2008 (the Act) companies and close corporations are required to submit annual returns to the CIPC. The purpose of such CIPC return is to confirm that:

  • a company or close corporation is in business;
  • a company or close corporation is trading; and
  • a company or close corporation will still be in business and trading in the near future.

If a company or close corporation fails to submit the prescribed CIPC returns for two or more years the CIPC will assume that the entity is inactive and will take the necessary steps to deregister it. The effect of such deregistration will be the following:

  • that the company or close corporation will be deprived of its legal personality and will consequently no longer be able to enter into binding business transactions and agreements;
  • that the company or close corporation may no longer trade under its registered name;
  • that the assets of a deregistered company or close corporation are automatically transferred to the state as bona vacantia;
  • that, should there be existing debts to creditors, these debts are not cancelled but become unenforcable against the entity;
  • that CIPC removes the name of the company or close corporation from the register and the name becomes available for future use;
  • that any summons served on a deregistered company or close corporation cannot be enforced but also that a deregistered company or close corporation may not serve a summons on a debtor that fails to pay.

In an instance where CIPC deregisters a company or close corporation as described above, any interested person, including a third party who has a direct or indirect financial interest in the company or close corporation, may apply to have the deregistration reversed. It is also possible to apply to the court to request CIPC to reverse the deregistration.

When the deregistration of a company or close corporation is reversed, the company or close corporation acquires similar legal personality, and any rights or privileges that existed before deregistration again vests in the company or close corporation. The general effect is that the entity is deemed not to have been deregistered in the first place.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice.  Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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BUYING OUT SHAREHOLDERS

We are often approached by clients to advise on the most tax efficient manner in which a shareholder can sell an investment in a private company. Typically, the parties involve a majority shareholder of a company that is interested in buying out the minority shareholders in the company and which will ensure that that majority shareholder becomes the single remaining shareholder of that company.

In essence, two options are available through which a shareholder may dispose of a share in a company to achieve the above goal: it could either sell its shares to the purchasing shareholder, or it could sell the shares owned back to the company (i.e. a so-called “share buyback”). These two different options have varying tax consequences, and taxpayers should take care that these (often material) transactions are structured in the most tax appropriate manner possible.

Where a share is sold to another shareholder, the selling shareholder will simply pay a capital gains tax related cost. For companies, such capital gains tax related cost will effectively be 22.4% of the gains realised, whereas the rate for trusts is 36% (if gains are not distributed to beneficiaries), or up to 18% if the seller is an individual.

Where shares are however sold back to the company whose shares are being traded, that share buyback constitutes a dividend for tax purposes (to the extent that contributed tax capital is not used to fund that repurchase). Capital gains tax is therefore no longer relevant, but rather the dividends tax. Dividends would typically attract dividends tax (levied at 20%), rather than capital gains taxes.

It may therefore be beneficial for an existing shareholder (that is itself a company) to opt for its shares to be sold back to the company whose shares are held (and which shares are therefore effectively cancelled), rather than to sell these to the remaining shareholders and pay capital gains tax. This is because if the shares are sold to the remaining shareholders, a 22.4% capital gains tax related cost arises. However, where the shares are bought back, the “dividend” received by the company will be exempt from dividends tax and therefore no dividends tax should arise, since SA resident companies are exempt from the dividends tax altogether. A company selling its shares back to the entity in which it held the shares may therefore dispose of its investment without paying any tax whatsoever: no capital gains are realised since the shareholder receives a “dividend” for tax purposes, and the dividend itself is also exempt from dividends tax.

Share buybacks have become a hot topic recently and National Treasury has now moved to introduce certain specific anti-avoidance measures and reporting requirements that apply in certain circumstances. Still, there are perfectly legitimate ways in which to structure many corporate restructures where a buyout of shareholders takes place, and taxpayers will be well-advised to seek professional advice to ensure that such transactions are structured in as tax effective manner as possible.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice.  Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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HOEKOM DIT BELANGRIK IS OM TE WEET WAT DIE WAARDE VAN JOU BESIGHEID IS

’n Besigheidswaardasie wat behoorlik oorweeg is kan die eerste stap in vele noodsaaklike besigheidsprosesse en – aktiwiteite wees. Alhoewel daar baie voorbeelde is, kan dit byvoorbeeld die verkryging van ’n koop – en verkoopbeleid of fasilitering van ’n herstruktureringsproses insluit.

Die inisiëring van onderhandelinge tydens ’n transaksie oor die verkoop van ’n besigheid bly egter waarskynlik die algemeenste stimulus vir die waardasie van ’n besigheid, en vir baie besigheidseienaars mag sodanige gebeurtenis die eerste en enigste keer wees dat die gedagte om ’n besigheidswaardasie uit te voer, opkom.

Besigheidwaardasies word dus dikwels as die doel, eerder as die middel tot ’n doel, behandel.

Om ’n suksesvolle besigheid te laat groei vereis ’n geweldige tydsbelegging. As dit reg gedoen word, is hierdie belegging egter geregverdig aangesien geen ander belegging die potensiaal het om jou tydsbelegging oor die langtermyn beter te beloon as ’n suksesvolle besigheid nie. Om hierdie rede het ons dit nog altyd eienaardig gevind wanneer besigheidseienaars bereid is om te wag tot net voor verkoop, voordat dit belangrik geag word om die waarde van hulle planne, tyd (dikwels jare), pogings, ens. te kwantifiseer.

Dit is waarskynlik hier waar die waarde van behoorlike waardasie meestal oor die hoof gesien word. Ons is geneig om waardasie as die doel te beskou, terwyl dit miskien eerder as ’n leidende sleutelprestasie-aanwyser beskou moet word op die reis na gemaklike aftrede of uiteindelike uittrede uit ’n besigheid, ongeag wat die rede vir uittrede mag wees. Waardasies behoort die middele tot ’n doel te wees wat aangewend word om besluitneming en strategiese proses te ondersteun, nie wanneer jy gereed is om te verkoop nie, maar eerder terwyl dit nog moontlik is om positiewe aanpassings aan jou besigheid te maak.

In hierdie verband beveel ons gewoonlik aan dat ’n besigheidswaardasie ten minste jaarliks uitgevoer word, al word dit net in interne prosesse aangewend as ’n sleutelprestasie-aanwyser. Deur hierdie benadering te volg kan prestasie en groei periodiek gemeet word en die nodige strategiese en operasionele aanpassings kan gemaak word terwyl daar steeds tyd is om waarde toe te voeg deur goeie en omsigtige besigheidsbesluite te neem.

Dit is belangrik om daarop te let dat die waarde van ’n waardasie beperk is tot die kwaliteit van die interpretasie en toepassing daarvan. Dit is belangrik dat ’n waardasie gefokusseerde optrede vereis en dit is dus altyd ’n goeie idee om ’n betroubare en ervare finansiële adviseur by jou strategiese sowel as finansiële prosesse te betrek.

Hierdie artikel is ʼn algemene inligtingsblad en moet nie as professionele advies beskou word nie. Geen verantwoordelikheid word aanvaar vir enige foute, verlies of skade wat ondervind word as gevolg  van die gebruik van enige inligting vervat in hierdie artikel nie. Kontak altyd ʼn finansiële raadgewer vir spesifieke en gedetailleerde advies. (E&OE)

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LAAT JOU BESIGHEID AANHOU GROEI

Om ’n suksesvolle besigheid te hê, beteken om seker te maak dat dit aanhou groei. Sonder groei, sal jou besigheid uiteindelik droogloop en stagneer. Maar, met die bykomende verantwoordelikheid om jou besigheid te handhaaf en te sorg dat alles glad verloop, kan dit moeilik wees om te weet waar om besigheidsgroei te soek.

  1. Kyk uit vir kostebesparings

Hierdie punt is veral waar wanneer jou besigheid probeer om ’n sukkelende ekonomie te oorleef. Om kostebesparende keuses te maak kan makliker of moeiliker word, afhangende van hoe jy jou inkomste/s en uitgawes bestuur.

Probeer kostebesparings vind waar jy ook al kan. Watter subskripsies betaal jy nog, wat jy nie meer nodig het nie? Watter verskaffersverhoudinge moet beëindig word? Spandeer jy te veel op skryfbehoeftes? Probeer om alle onnodige kostes uit te skakel, selfs al is hulle klein.

  1. Outomatiseer alles

Wanneer jy tyd mors, mors jy geld. Wanneer dit kom by dinge soos verslagvoorbereiding, die invoer van data, en betaalbare en ontvangbare rekeninge, is dit die moeite werd om jou outomatiese opsies te ondersoek. Iets soos die uitvoer van fakture kan nou met ’n klik van ’n knoppie en ’n paar drukke op die sleutelbord gedoen word. Daarbenewens kan hulle veilig, wettig en doeltreffend hanteer word.

Sodra jy gedeeltes van jou besigheid geoutomatiseer het, kan jy eksklusief op die groei van jou besigheid fokus, eerder as om dit net te handhaaf. Dit is krities, want die groei van ’n besigheid verg uiterste toewyding.

  1. Teiken ander markte

As jou huidige mark jou goed bedien, vra jouself of daar ander is. Soms is dit daardie ander markte wat die geld maak. As jou verbruikersmark wissel van jong professionele persone tot jong gesinne, dink aan waar hierdie mense die meeste van hulle tyd spandeer. Kan jy jou besigheid aan skole, restaurante of gemeenskapsgebeurtenisse bekend stel? Jy kan ook afslag aan spesiale belangstelling klubs aanbied, of ’n deel van jou winste aan skole en verenigings skenk.

Hierdie artikel is ʼn algemene inligtingsblad en moet nie as professionele advies beskou word nie. Geen verantwoordelikheid word aanvaar vir enige foute, verlies of skade wat ondervind word as gevolg  van die gebruik van enige inligting vervat in hierdie artikel nie. Kontak altyd ʼn finansiële raadgewer vir spesifieke en gedetailleerde advies. (E&OE)

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INTEREST FREE LOANS WITH COMPANIES

The latest annual nation budget presented in Parliament proposed the dividends tax rate to be increased with almost immediate effect from 15% to 20%. The increased rate brings into renewed focus what anti-avoidance measures exist in the Income Tax Act[1] that seeks to ensure that the dividends tax is not avoided.

Most commonly, the dividends tax is levied on dividends paid by a company to individuals or trusts that are shareholders of that company. To the extent that the shareholder is a South African tax resident company, no dividends tax is levied on payments to such shareholders.[2] In other words, non-corporate shareholders (such as trusts or individuals) may want to structure their affairs in such a manner so as to avoid the dividends tax being levied, yet still have access to the cash and profit reserves contained in the company for their own use.

Getting access to these funds by way of a dividend declaration will give rise to such dividends being taxed (now) at 20%. An alternative scenario would be for the shareholder to rather borrow the cash from the company on interest free loan account. In this manner factually no dividend would be declared (and which would suffer dividends tax), no interest accrues to the company on the loan account created (and which would have been taxable in the company) and most importantly, the shareholder is able to access the cash of the company commercially. Moreover, since the shareholder is in a controlling position in relation to the company, it can ensure that the company will in future never call upon the loan to be repaid.

Treasury has for long been aware of the use of interest free loans to shareholders (or “connected persons”)[3] as a means first to avoid the erstwhile STC, and now the dividends tax. There exists anti-avoidance legislation; in place exactly to ensure that shareholders do not extract a company’s resources in the guise of something else (such as an interest free loan account) without incurring some tax cost as a result.

Section 64E(4) of the Income Tax Act provides that any loan provided by a company to a non-company tax resident that is:

  1. a connected person in relation to that company; or
  2. a connected person of the above person

“… will be deemed to have paid a dividend if that debt arises by virtue of any share held in that company by a person contemplated in subparagraph (i).” (own emphasis)

The amount of such a deemed dividend (that will be subject to dividends tax) is considered to be effectively equal to the amount of interest that would have been charged at prime less 2.5%, less so much of interest that has been actually charged on the loan account.

It is important to also appreciate that the interest free loan capital is not subject to tax, but which would also have amounted to a once-off tax only. By taxing the interest component not charged, the very real possibility exists for the deemed dividend to arise annually, and for as long as the loan remains in place on an interest free basis.

[1] 58 of 1962

[2] Section 64F(1)(a)

[3] Defined in section 1 of the Income Tax Act

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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INTEREST FREE LOANS TO DIRECTORS

It is very often the case that a company extends an interest free or low interest loan to a director. This manifests either as a true incentive or benefit to that director (mostly the case in larger corporate environments) or in a small business environment in lieu of salaries paid. The latter is especially the case for example where a spouse or family trust would hold the shares in the company running the family business, but which business is conducted through the efforts of the individual to whom a loan is granted from time to time.

In terms of the Seventh Schedule to the Income Tax Act[1] a director of a company is also considered an “employee”.[2] This is significant, since directors can therefore also be bound by the fringe benefit tax regime applicable to employees generally.

Paragraph (i) of the definition of “gross income” in the Income Tax Act[3] specifically includes as an amount subject to income tax “the cash equivalent, as determined under the provisions of the Seventh Schedule, of the value during the year of assessment of any benefit … granted in respect of employment or to the holder of any office…”

Clearly, benefits received by a director of a company would therefore rank for taxation in terms of this provision. The question remains therefore whether loans provided to such directors by the companies where they serve in this capacity would amount to such a taxable benefit, and further how such benefit should be quantified.

Paragraph 2(f) of the Seventh Schedule is unequivocal in its approach that a taxable fringe benefit exists where “… a debt … has been incurred by the employee [read director], whether in favour of the employer or in favour of any other person by arrangement with the employer or any associated institution in relation to the employer, and either-

(i)            no interest is payable by the employee in respect of such debt; or

(ii)           interest is payable by the employee in respect thereof at a rate of lower than the official rate of interest…”

Paragraph 11 in turn seeks to quantify the amount of the taxable fringe benefit to be included in the gross income of the director. Essentially, the taxable fringe benefit would be equal to so much of interest that would have been payable on the loan at the prime interest rate less 2.5%, less any interest actually paid on the loan. The benefit therefore does not only arise on interest-free loans, but also on loans carrying interest at less than the prescribed interest rate.

It is necessary to note that a fringe benefit otherwise arising will not be a taxable benefit if the loan amount is less than R3,000, or if it is provided to the director to further his/her studies.

[1] 58 of 1962

[2] Paragraph 1 of the Seventh Schedule, paragraph (g) of the definition of “employee”

[3] See section 1

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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ASSETS HELD AS SECURITY BY SARS WHEN A COMPANY IS BEING LIQUIDATED

The KwaZulu-Natal High Court previously granted an application brought by Van der Merwe and others (acting as liquidators) requiring the Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service to release certain assets held by him under his control in a customs warehouse. The assets in question were being held by the Commissioner as security for payment of outstanding Value-Added Tax and customs duty liabilities owed by the insolvent taxpayer involved. After losing in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court, the Commissioner took the matter on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal. This judgment is reported as CSARS v Van der Merwe NO (598/2015) [2016] ZASCA 138 (29 September 2016).

Van der Merwe and the other respondents were all liquidators of Pela Plant (Pty) Ltd, a company that became insolvent and for which Van der Merwe and his colleagues were appointed to act as liquidators. To this end, the liquidators endeavoured to have all the assets of the company sold to realise proceeds from which to repay the creditors of the company to the extent possible. The Commissioner was unwilling to release the assets held, as he contended that he was entitled to hold the assets until the requisite VAT and customs duty owed to him was settled. Only then, in terms of the VAT Act 89 of 1991 and the Customs and Excise Duty Act 91 of 1964, was he obliged to release the assets back to the liquidators. The liquidators on the other hand sought to have the assets released to them, and in spite of the outstanding VAT and customs duty owed to the Commissioner: they had an obligation to realise the company’s assets and to repay the insolvent company’s creditors to the extent possible in terms of the provisions of the Insolvency Act 24 of 1936 read with the 1973 Companies Act.

The Supreme Court of Appeal was therefore confronted with the question “[w]hether the law relating to insolvency in respect of the winding up of a company unable to pay its debts permits a liquidator of such a company to take possession of property of the company in the custody and/or under the control of … the Commissioner and to deal with such property as provided for in the law relating to insolvency even though duty has not been paid in respect of such property in terms of … the Customs and Excise Act … and/or value added tax has not been paid in respect of such property as required in terms of … the Value Added Tax Act…”

The judgment came down on the side of the liquidators yet again, and the court confirmed the judgment of the court a quo. When confronted with the question of whether the Commissioner was entitled to hold on to the assets in terms of the VAT and the Customs and Excise Duty Acts, as opposed to releasing them as required by the Insolvency Act, the court was clear in its direction: “When insolvency intervenes one turns to the Insolvency Act.” This statute will therefore govern the process.

Nothing precludes the Commissioner though from proving a claim as part of the liquidation process. However, he is not permitted to act unilaterally and of his own volition to retain assets held as security by him in the satisfaction of a tax debt due to him.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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