Investigating whether the granting of services and the right of use of assets would constitute dividends in specie

Kok, Michael (2018-12)

Thesis (MAcc)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Dividends in specie are not defined by the Income Tax Act (ITA), which gives rise to uncertainty as to what could possibly fall within its ambit, specifically regarding the granting of services or the right of use of assets. This study investigates the uncertainty regarding the meaning of dividends in specie. The objectives were firstly to investigate whether the granting of services or the right of use of assets could constitute a dividend as defined in the ITA; secondly, to investigate whether or not the meaning of “dividend” in the Companies Act and the Internationale Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) could provide guidance for purposes of the ITA; and thirdly, to investigate whether or not international practices in the context of taxing shareholder benefits provide tax guidance on whether the granting of services or the right of use of assets constitute a dividend in specie for tax purposes internationally. This was done by investigating the tax amendments to the definition of “dividend”, the ordinary English meaning of the words contained in the definition, as well as the intention of the legislator in this regard. Guidance was also obtained from explanatory guides from the South African Revenue Service (SARS), the Companies Act, the IFRS and the international practices of selected countries. This study established that a broad interpretation should be ascribed to the meaning of “dividend” and “in specie” based on the ordinary meaning of the words used and the amendments to the definition. The tax amendments also indicate that the intention of the legislator could be to include the granting of services or the right of use of an asset within the ambit of dividends for ITA purposes. The Companies Act also indicated that a broad interpretation is applied to the meaning of “dividend” and could possibly include benefits like the granting of services or the right of use of assets to constitute dividends in specie. Guidance obtained when applied in the context of dividends would suggest that the ITA should also consider these benefits to be dividends in specie. The investigation regarding the purpose of the Seventh Schedule to the ITA determined that the purpose of the introduction of the taxation of fringe benefits was to prevent loopholes to avoid taxation as these benefits were granted in lieu of remuneration. This study concluded that the meaning of dividends should include the granting of services and the right of use of assets in order to avoid potential tax loopholes as these benefits are granted to beneficial owners in lieu of cash dividends. International practices also indicated that the granting of services or the right of use of assets is considered dividends or taxed as shareholder benefits. This study found that in a South African context, the granting of services and the right of use of assets could also constitute dividends in specie, similar to some other countries. This is due to the intention of the legislator to align dividends tax to that of other countries by replacing Secondary Tax on Companies (STC) with dividends tax. The study also investigated different techniques for determining the value of and the timing for paying dividends tax on the granting of services and the right of use of assets based on international practices.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Dividende in specie word nie deur die Inkomstebelastingwet (IBW) omskryf nie, wat aanleiding gee tot onsekerheid oor wat moontlik binne die bestek daarvan kan val, veral in die konteks van die verlening van dienste of die reg van gebruik van bates. Hierdie studie ondersoek die onsekerheid aangaande die betekenis van dividende in specie. Die doelwitte was eerstens om te ondersoek of die verlening van dienste of reg van gebruik van bates ’n dividend soos omskryf in die IBW kan uitmaak; tweedens, om te ondersoek of die betekenis van “dividend” in die Maatskappywet en die Internationale Finansiële Verslagdoenings-standaarde (IFRS) leiding kan bied vir doeleindes vir die IBW; en derdens, om te ondersoek of internationale praktyke in die konteks van aandeelhoursvoordele belasting leiding kan gee of die verlening van dienste of reg van gebruik van bates ’n dividend in specie uitmaak vir belasting doeleindes internationaal. Dit is gedoen deur die belastingwysigings aan die omskrywing van “dividend”, die gewone Engelse betekenis van die woorde in die omskrywing, asook die bedoeling van die wetgewer in hierdie verband te ondersoek. Leiding is ook verkry vanuit verklarende riglyne van die Suid-Afrikaanse Inkomstediens (SAID), die Maatskappywet, die IFVS en die internasionale praktyke van geselekteerde lande. Die studie het vasgestel dat ’n breë interpretasie toegeskryf moet word aan die betekenis van “dividend” en “in specie” gebaseer op die gewone betekenis van die woorde wat gebruik word en die wysigings aan die definisie. Die belastingwysigings dui ook aan dat die wetgewer se voorneme moontlik kon wees om die verlening van die dienste of die reg van gebruik van bates binne die omvang van dividende vir IBW doeleindes in te sluit. Die Maatskappywet dui ook aan dat ‘n breë interpretasie toegeskryf moet word aan die betekenis van “dividend” en kan moontlik voordele soos die verlening van dienste of die reg van gebruik van bates as dividende in specie beskou. Leiding wat verkry is wanneer dit in die konteks van dividende toegepas word, blyk voor te stel dat die IBW ook hierdie voordele as dividende in specie behoort te beskou. Die ondersoek rakende die doel van die Sewende Bylae tot die IBW het vasgestel dat die doel van die inwerkingtreding van die belasting op byvoordele was om skuiwergate vir belastingvermyding te verhoed, aangesien hierdie voordele in die plek van besoldiging verleen was. Hierdie studie het tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat die betekenis van dividende die verlening van dienste en die gebruiksreg van bates moet insluit. Hierdie insluiting sal moontlike belastingskuiwergate kan voorkom aangesien hierdie voordele aan uiteindelik geregtigdes verleen word in die plek van kontantdividende. Internasionale praktyke het ook aangedui dat die verlening van dienste of die gebruiksreg van bates as dividende of aandeelhouersvoordele beskou moet word. Hierdie studie het gevind dat die verlening van dienste en die reg van gebruik van bates in ’n Suid-Afrikaanse konteks ook as dividende in specie beskou kan word, soortgelyk aan sommige ander lande. Dit is as gevolg van die wetgewer se bedoeling om dividendbelasting met dié van ander lande te belyn deur Sekondêre Belasting op Maatskappye (SBM) met dividendbelasting te vervang. Die studie het ook verskillende tegnieke ondersoek om die waarde en tydsberekening vir die betaling van dividendbelasting op die verlening van dienste en of die gebruiksreg van bates te bepaal gebaseer op internationale praktyke.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/104959
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