Determining to what extent the “money-lender test” needs to be satisfied in the context of South African investment holding companies, focusing on the requirements of section 11(a) and 24J(2) of the Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962

Rupping, Jacobus Adriaan (2014-04)

Thesis (MAcc)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The requirements of section 11(a) and section 24J(2) were considered in this research assignment, from both a money-lender’s and an investment holding company’s perspective, to determine whether interest, losses on irrecoverable loans and raising fees were tax deductible. It was determined, that if the trade requirement is satisfied by the money-lender, then the above-mentioned expenses are fully tax deductible. However, if the trade requirement is satisfied by the investment holding company then only the interest is fully tax deductible. It is further submitted however in this research assignment that it cannot be said that the money-lender alternative is better than the investment holding company alternative – both alternatives are of equal value in the current tax system. What is important though is that taxpayers who will fit the mould of an investment holding company will now be able to use the principles set out in this research assignment to prove that it is in fact carrying on a trade for tax purposes, something that taxpayers are generally reluctant to pursue. If this is pursued, taxpayers may have the added tax benefit of tax deductible interest expenditure (in full) in cases where this was not previously the norm (and an investment holding company will not have to satisfy any of the guidelines of the “money-lender test” when it seeks to deduct its interest expense in full). However, if an investment holding company seeks to deduct losses on irrecoverable loans and raising fees for tax purposes, it will not have to satisfy all the guidelines of the “money-lender test”, but it will have to satisfy one guideline, that being the “system or plan” and “frequent turnover of capital” guideline. It will be very difficult for an investment holding company to prove this on the facts of the case – it will arguably take a special set of facts to accomplish this mean feat.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die vereistes van artikel 11(a) en artikel 24J (2) is in hierdie navorsingsopdrag vanuit ʼn geldskieter en 'n beleggingshouermaatskappy se perspektief oorweeg, om die belastingaftrekbaarheid van rente, verliese op oninvorderbare lenings en diensfooie te bepaal. Daar is vasgestel dat indien die bedryfsvereiste deur ʼn geldskieter nagekom word, bogenoemde uitgawes ten volle vir belastingdoeleindes aftrekbaar is. Indien die bedryfsvereiste egter nagekom word deur ʼn beleggingshouermaatskappy sal slegs die rente ten volle aftrekbaar wees vir belastingdoeleindes. Verder word dit in die navorsingsopdrag aan die hand gedoen dat daar nie gesê kan word dat die geldskieter-alternatief beter is as die beleggingshouermaatskappy-alternatief nie – beide alternatiewe is van gelyke waarde in die huidige belastingbestel. Die onderskeid is egter belangrik, aangesien die belastingbetalers wat aan die vereistes van ʼn beleggingshouermaatskappy voldoen, nou in staat sal wees om die beginsels wat in hierdie navorsingsopdrag uiteengesit word, te gebruik om te bewys dat die beleggingshouermaatskappy in werklikheid ʼn bedryf vir belastingdoeleindes beoefen. Belastingbetalers is oor die algemeen huiwerig om dit te poog. Indien wel, kan belastingbetalers ʼn belastingaftrekking ten opsigte van rente uitgawes kry, wat voorheen nie die norm was nie (ʼn beleggingshouermaatskappy sal nie enige van die “geldskietertoets” riglyne hoef na te kom wanneer dit poog om ʼn belastingafrekking vir die rente uitgawe te kry nie). Indien ʼn beleggingshouermaatskappy verliese op oninvorderbare lenings en diensfooie vir belastingdoeleindes wil aftrek, sal die belastingbetaler nie al die “geldskietertoets” riglyne hoef na te kom nie, maar sal egter moet voldoen aan die “stelsel of plan” en “gereelde omset van kapitaal” riglyne. Dit sal baie moeilik wees vir 'n beleggingshouermaatskappy om dit te bewys op grond van die feite van die saak – dit sal waarskynlik ʼn spesiale stel feite verg om dit te bereik.

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