A South African perspective on some critical issues regarding the OECD model tax convention on income and on capital, with special emphasis on its application to trusts

Du Plessis, Izelle (2014-12)

Thesis (LLD)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Trusts are used for a variety of purposes, both in South Africa and abroad. Like so many other entities, trusts often do not function only in one jurisdiction and may therefore be exposed to international double taxation. South Africa, like most other states, enters into bi-lateral double taxation treaties, to limit the effects of international double taxation. Most of these treaties are based on the OECD Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital (the OECD MTC). The South African trust is a unique creature. It is not based on the dual ownership concept on which most common law trusts are based, yet, it is not a juristic person either. The question that this research aims to address is how South Africa will interpret and apply certain provisions of the OECD MTC to trusts. Although the South African position is investigated, it is compared to the positions of the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands. The dissertation starts with an analysis of the trust law in each of the relevant states, followed by an overview of the taxation regime governing trusts (and the parties thereto) in each state. The status of double taxation treaties and their interpretation are examined before certain critical provisions of the OECD MTC are analysed to determine how South Africa will apply these provisions to trusts. Hence it is explored whether a trust will be regarded as a person, whether it may be a resident and a beneficial owner for purposes of the OECD MTC. Furthermore, possible solutions for conflicts of attribution in the application of double tax conventions to trusts are investigated. The dissertation concludes that South Africa will regard a trust as a person for purposes of the OECD MTC. Moreover, some types of trusts may be viewed as residents and as beneficial owners for purposes of the OECD MTC. The solution proposed in the OECD’s Partnership Report should be applied to resolve conflicts of attribution involving trusts.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Trusts word vir ‘n groot verskeidenheid doeleindes gebruik, nie net in Suid-Afrika nie, maar ook in die buiteland. Net soos baie ander entiteite funksioneer trusts baie keer nie net in een jurisdiksie nie. Trusts word dus ook blootgestel aan internasionale dubbelbelasting. Soos die meeste ander state, sluit Suid-Afrika dubbelbelastingooreenkomste om die effek van internasionale dubbelbelasting te beperk. Die meeste van hierdie ooreenkomste is gebaseer op die OECD Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital (die OECD MTC). Die Suid-Afrikaanse trust het ‘n unieke aard. Dit is nie gebaseer op die konsep van verdeelde eiendomsreg waarop die meeste gemeenregtelike trusts gebasseer is nie, maar tog is dit ook nie ‘n regspersoon nie. Die vraag wat hierdie navorsing probeer beantwoord is hoe Suid-Afrika sekere bepalings van die OECD MTC sal interpreteer en toepas op trusts. Alhoewel die Suid-Afrikaanse posisie ondersoek word, word dit deurgaans vergelyk met die posisie in die Verenigde Koningkryk, Kanada en Nederland. Die proefskrif begin met ‘n analise van die trustreg in elk van die betrokke state en word gevolg deur ‘n oorsig van die belastingstelsel wat trusts (en die partye daartoe) belas in elk van die state. Die status van dubbelbelastingooreenkomste en hul interpretasie word ondersoek voordat sekere kritiese bepalings van die OECD MTC geanaliseer word om vas te stel hoe Suid-Afrika hierdie bepalings sal toepas op trusts. Daar word dus ondersoek of ‘n trust beskou sal word as ‘n persoon, of dit ‘n inwoner en ‘n uiteindelik geregtigde kan wees vir doeleindes van die OECD MTC. Voorts word moontlike oplossings vir toerekeningskonflikte in die toepassing van dubbelbelastingooreenkomste op trusts, ondersoek. Die proefskrif kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat in Suid-Afrika die trust beskou sal word as ‘n persoon vir doeleindes van die OECD MTC. Verder sal sommige tipes trusts gesien word as inwoners en as uiteindelik geregtigdes vir doeleindes van die OECD MTC. Die oplossing voorgestel in die OECD se Verslag oor Vennootskappe behoort toegepas te word om toerekeningskonflikte op te los.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/95878
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