Determining the residence of a trust : a South African income tax perspective

Muller, Catharina Petronella Johanna (2013-12)

Thesis (LLM)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In the tapestry of history the subjects of trusts and taxes are frequently interwoven. Owing to such frequent interaction, one may assume that all signifcant aspects regarding the taxation of trusts have long since been resolved. This would be an incorrect assumption as for example, one quite fundamental and important issue, the tax “residence” of a trust, has not been adequately considered. Residence forms the cornerstone of our taxation system in South Africa and is an important pre-requisite for taxes to be imposed upon a trust. Yet as the residence of a trust has received little attention from South Africa's legislature, judiciary, fiscal authorities and legal authors, it remains an area of uncertainty, which potentially undermines our taxation capacity. This thesis therefore seeks to address this lacuna in our law. In South Africa, the Income Tax Act, 58 of 1962, provides a definition for the term "residence." This statutory definition is critically analysed so as to assess its meaning and practical application in a trust setting. In so doing, certain deficiencies and aspects giving rise to uncertainties are identified and recommendations made for the legislature to intervene. The guidance provided by the South African Revenue Service in its Interpretation Notes, and Discussion Paper, is also assessed. Historical judicial precedent is reviewed and the recent case of the Oceanic Trust Co Ltd No v Commissioner of SARS which dealt specifically with this topical issue, considered. The approach followed in South Africa is further compared to that followed in the international tax treaty setting, and in particular, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) model tax convention and its commentaries, critically analysed. More specifically the approach in two foreign jurisdictions, Canada and the United Kingdom, are also investigated so as to identify suggestions for possible reform and development. Against the underlying justification for a residence-based taxation and the objectives it seeks to achieve, an analysis of the various tests for the residence of a trust is conducted so as to determine the most appropriate and effective test to be applied in the South Africa income tax setting, and recommendations made.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die geskiedenis toon dat die vakgebiede van trusts en belasting al vir eeue nouliks verweef is aan mekaar. Teen so 'n agtergrond, sou 'n aanname gemaak kon word dat alle belangrike aspekte rakende die belasting van trusts, al lank reeds aangespreek is. Dit sou egter nie korrek wees nie aangesien een fundamentale aspek, die inwoner-status van 'n trust, nog nie voldoende oorweeg is in ons reg nie. Die bepaling of 'n persoon 'n inwoner is al dan nie, vorm die hoeksteen van Suid-Afrika se belastingstelsel, en is 'n belangrike voorvereiste vir die heffing van omvattende belasting op die trust. Die bepaling van die inwoner-status van 'n trust het egter nog bitter min aandag geniet van die Suid-Afrikaanse wetgewer, regbank, fiskale owerheid en akademici. Dit bly gevolglik 'n area van onsekerheid wat die moontlikheid inhou om ook ons belastingbasis te beperk. Gevolglik stel hierdie studie ten doel om hierdie lacuna in ons reg te vul. In Suid-Afrika, word die begrip "inwoner" gedefinieer in die Inkomstebelastingwet, no 58 van 1962. Hierdie statutêre omskrywing word krities ontleed om sodoende die betekenis en praktiese toepassing in 'n trust konteks te bepaal. Sekere tekortkominge en aspekte wat lei tot onsekerheid word geidentifiseer en voorstelle gemaak vir die wetgewer om in te gryp. Die Suid-Afrikaanse Inkomstediens se Interpretasie Notas, asook Besprekingsdokument, wat hiertoe relevant is, word ook oorweeg. Historiese sake asook die onlangse saak van die Oceanic Trust Co Ltd v Commissioner of SARS waarin hierdie aktuele onderwerp, spesifiek hanteer is, word geanaliseer. Die benadering wat in Suid-Afrika gevolg word, word dan vergelyk met die benadering gevolg in die konteks van internasional belastingverdrae. Veral die modelbelastingverdrag en gepaardgaande kommentaar van die Organisasie vir Ekonomiese Samewerking en Ontwikkeling, word krities ontleed. Meer spesifiek word die benadering van twee buitelandse jurisdiksies, Kanada en die Verenigde Koninkryk, ook ondersoek om sodoende moontlike voorstelle vir ontwikkeling in ons reg te identifiseer. Teen die onderliggende regverdiging vir 'n inwoner-gebaseerde belastingstelsel en die doelwitte wat dit nastreef, word 'n analise van die verskillende toetse vir die bepaling van die inwoner-status van 'n trust dan uitgevoer om sodoende die mees effektiewe en toepaslike toets vir aanwending in die Suid-Afrikaanse inkomstebelasting konteks, te bepaal en word voorstelle daartoe gemaak.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100596
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