Assessing the normal tax implications of a home swap for a resident owning property in South Africa

Zietsman, Magdel Elizabeth (2017-12)

Thesis (MAcc)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : The concept of home swapping dates to the 1960s and is therefore an established practice. Participating members exchange reciprocal rights, entitling such members to accommodation (in each other’s homes) at predetermined dates for a specific period. The rapid and prodigious strides made in technological advancement have eliminated traditional barriers to international trade. Consequently, the practice of home swaps has been highlighted as a core contributor to the sharing economy. The conventional concept of home swapping has been revised to exploit the upsurge in the current innovative business environment. Exchanges can be facilitated via points, rights or cash. The essence of such an exchange can be reduced to a short-term rental agreement, with distinction only being made to the recompense: an incorporeal non-cash benefit (points/rights) or cash. Such rights/points fall within the ambit of barter trade, which in turn finds itself within the realm of gross income. However, the South African Revenue Service does not explicitly address the normal tax treatment of the incorporeal non-cash benefit (points or a right) collected. Therefore, the average South African taxpayer, lacking tax expertise, might inadvertently contravene the Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962 (hereafter referred to as the “ITA”). Contributing to the convolution of assessing the normal tax repercussions for home swaps is the time at which the benefits accrue, the valuation of such benefits, and the influence of cross-border transactions. The principal aim of this study was therefore to address the normal tax implications for a South African resident, in possession of property within South Africa, upon receipt or accrual of the benefit of a successful home swap. The gross income definition of the ITA, in conjunction with relevant South African case law and legislation, was evaluated to elucidate the recommended normal tax treatment for home swap transactions (hereafter referred to as “swaps”). In addition, the terms and conditions of the two most prominent international home swap programmes, Love Home Swap and Home Exchange, were analysed in the context of the aforementioned legislation and case law. The study concludes with an examination of Australian tax legislation and case law as a source of counsel from the perspective of the Australian Tax Office. Home swap benefits, regardless of the currency, were found to be indistinct items of gross income for which no exemption exists in the current ITA. The time at which a normal tax burden arises is dependent on the swap type, the order in which participants consume their benefits and the terms and conditions inherent to affiliation with specific home swap programmes. Valuation of non-cash benefits is more multifaceted than appraisal where compensation is in cash. Valuation is primarily contingent upon the time at which normal tax is levied and whether the recompense is in cash or kind. An explanatory memorandum or augmentation of the ITA with additional sections, is therefore proposed. Such an addition to the ITA will instruct taxpayers and reduce the forfeiture of tax revenues due to inadvertent non-compliance.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die konsep bekend as “huis-ruil” bestaan reeds vanaf die 1960’s en is dus ʼn gevestigde praktyk. Deelnemende lede verruil ʼn wederkerige reg wat elke lid vanaf ʼn voorafbepaalde datum vir ʼn spesifieke tydperk die reg tot akkommodasie (in mekaar se huise) verleen. Die rasse skrede waarteen die ontwikkeling van tegnologie plaasvind, het reeds die tradisionele struikelblokke wat toetrede tot internasionale handel beperk, uit die weg geruim. Gevolglik het die kollig op huis-ruil as ʼn sleutelbydraer tot die deel-ekonomie geval. Die konvensionele metode van huis-ruil is dus hersien en aangepas ten einde hierdie innoverende besigheidsomgewing te ontgin. Hierdie ruiltransaksies kan met behulp van punte, regte of kontant gefasiliteer word. In wese kan so ʼn huis-ruilooreenkoms as ʼn korttermyn-huurooreenkoms vereenvoudig word, en die enigste onderskeid wat ten opsigte van vergoeding getref moet word, is ʼn ontasbare, nie-likiede voordeel (regte/punte) of kontant. Hierdie regte/punte val binne die reikwydte van ruilhandel, ʼn konsep wat deel van die term “bruto inkomste” uitmaak. Die Suid-Afrikaanse Inkomstediens spreek egter nie die normale belastinghantering van hierdie punte/regte-voordeel wat ontvang is, spesifiek aan nie. Dit is dus moontlik dat die gemiddelde Suid-Afrikaanse belastingbetaler vanweë onkunde die Inkomstebelastingwet Nr. 58 van 1962 (hierna die “IBW” genoem) onbewustelik oortree. Die tydstip wanneer die voordeel toeval, die waardasie van die sogenaamde voordeel, en die implikasie van transaksies wat landsgrense oorskry, dra by tot die kompleksiteit rakende die vasstelling van normale belasting vir so ʼn huis-ruil. Die sentrale doelstelling van hierdie studie was dus om die normale belastinggevolge te bepaal vir ʼn inwoner van Suid-Afrika, wat eiendom in Suid-Afrika besit, wanneer die voordeel van ʼn huis-ruil ontvang word of toeval. Die definisie van bruto inkomste, soos vervat in die IBW, in samewerking met relevante Suid Afrikaanse regspraak en wetgewing, is geëvalueer om lig te werp op die voorgestelde hantering van die voordele van huis-ruil vir normale belasting. ʼn Ontleding is bykomend gedoen van die terme en voorwaardes van die twee mees prominente internasionale huis-ruilprogramme, Love Home Swap en Home Exchange. Hierdie ontleding is binne die konteks van voorgenoemde wetgewing en regspraak onderneem. Die studie is afgesluit met ʼn ondersoek na Australiese belastingwetgewing en regspraak as raadgewende bron ten einde huis-ruil vanuit die perspektief van die Australiese belastingkantoor te begryp. Daar is bevind dat die voordele van huis-ruil, ongeag die kommoditeit van verhandeling, ʼn onweerlegbare komponent van bruto inkomste verteenwoordig en dat daar geen vrystelling in die huidige IBW bestaan nie. Die tipe huis-ruil, tesame met die orde waarin die lede hul regte verbruik en die terme en voorwaardes inherent tot die spesifieke huis-ruilprogram, is die bepalende faktore ten einde vas te stel wanneer ʼn normale belastingverpligting ontstaan. Waardasie van nie-likiede voordele is meer ingewikkeld as kontantvergoeding. Waardasie word hoofsaaklik gedryf deur die tydstip wanneer belasting gehef word en of vergoeding in kontant al dan nie geskied. ʼn Verduidelikende memorandum of addendum met addisionele artikels as byvoeging tot die huidige IBW, word dus voorgestel. Hierdie byvoeging tot die IBW sal leiding aan belastingbetalers verskaf en die nienakoming van belastingwetgewing, toeskryfbaar aan onkunde, beperk.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/102685
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