The impact of the Brummeria Renaissance case in determining whether the receipt of an interest-free loan results in gross income accruing to the borrower

Smit, Sybrand Abraham (2008-12)

Thesis (MComm) -- Stellenbosch University, 2008.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The September 2007 decision of the SCA in C: SARS v Brummeria Renaissance (Pty) Ltd and Others has proven to be one of the most contentious tax cases ever decided by a court in our jurisdiction. Questions surrounding the interpretation of the judgment and the likely scope of its application are some of the most widely debated matters in South African tax circles ever since the judgment was delivered. In this research paper a study is undertaken into the income tax treatment of an interest-free loan receipt. The position as it stood prior to the SCA decision is first analysed with particular reference to the legal nature of a contract for the loan of money and the tax court decision in ITC 1791. The discourse continues with a critical discussion of the Brummeria judgment in order to extract the ratio decidendi thereof. The ambit of application of the extracted binding principles to selected interest-free loans (encountered most often in practice) is considered, drawing on views expressed by numerous South African tax experts as well as the Revenue Authority’s own stance in this regard, as enunciated in their Draft Interpretation Note dealing with the right to use loan capital interest-free. As a final application a study is undertaken into the possible arguments available to tax subjects to refute an assessment for income tax raised on them by SARS on the basis of the binding principles enunciated by the SCA in Brummeria. It is concluded that initial fears regarding the potential wide-ranging impact of the decision, though justified, may have been over-anticipated as strong grounds exist to argue that the scope of the judgment’s application is not likely to extend wider than the type of legal construction found in the case itself, namely where an interest-free loan is received in consideration or as a quid pro quo for some or other revenue supply.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die beslissing van die Hoogste Hof van Appèl (“HHA”) in C: SARS v Brummeria Renaissance (Pty) Ltd and Others gedurende September 2007 blyk een van die mees omstrede belastingsake te wees wat tot nog toe in ons jurisdiksie beslis is. Kwelvrae rondom die interpretasie van die uitspraak sowel as die waarskynlike omvang van die toepassing daarvan is van die aangeleenthede wat die wydste gedebateer is in Suid-Afrikaanse belastingkringe in die onlangse verlede. In die studie word die inkomstebelasting hantering van die ontvangs van 'n rentevrye lening ondersoek. Die regsposisie voor die beslissing van die HHA word eers ontleed met spesifieke verwysing na die regsaard van 'n kontrak vir die leen van geld en die beslissing van die spesiale inkomstebelasting hof in ITC 1791. Die verhandeling gaan voort met 'n kritiese bespreking van die Brummeria uitspraak ten einde die ratio decidendi daarvan te ekstraheer. Die bestek van die toepassing van die saak se bindende beginsels op uitgesoekte rentevrye lenings (wat die meeste in die praktyk teёgekom word) word oorweeg. In dié verband word verwys na die menings van verskeie Suid-Afrikaanse belasting-deskundiges, sowel as die Ontvanger van Inkomste se eie seining in hierdie verband, soos uiteengesit in hul Konsep Interpretasienota met betrekking tot die reg om leningskapitaal rentevry te gebruik. In die laaste instansie word „n ondersoek geloods na die moontlike argumente wat belastingpligtiges sou kon aanvoer om 'n inkomstebelasting-aanslag gegrond op die bindende beginsels neergelê deur die HHA in Brummeria, te weerlê. Dit word bevind dat aanvanklike vrese aangaande die trefwydte van die beslissing, alhoewel geregverdig, moontlik oorversigtig was, aangesien daar sterk gronde is om te argumenteer dat die omvang van die uitspraak se toepassing waarskynlik beperk is tot die soort regskontruksie wat in die saak self aangetref word, naamlik waar 'n rentevrye lening ontvang word in ruil vir of as quid pro quo (teenprestasie) vir een of ander lewering van 'n inkomste aard.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/21122
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