What important points to look at if a trust holds a CC membership
May 20th, 2022
Few people know that although historically only natural persons may have been members of a close corporation (CC) and not any juristic person or trustee of an inter vivos trust in that capacity, since 11 January 2006, a natural or juristic person in the capacity of a trustee of an inter vivos trust may be a member of a CC; but only if certain requirements are met. Some estate planners and trustees are, however, unaware of the ongoing requirements, consequences and possible risks as a result of this allowance, which are discussed in this article.
Donation as an option to move assets into a trust
May 13th, 2022
People are often unsure about ways in which assets can be moved into trusts as part of their estate plans. Assets can be transferred into a trust by sale (via a loan granted to the trust), donation, or on death in terms of a will. Assets can also be purchased directly in the trust, with the trust using its own funds. Each of these options has to be carefully considered, and professional advise from a practitioner specialising in trusts should be sought, when considering moving assets into a trust. The considerations applicable to donations to trusts are discussed in this article. Assets can be donated to a trust in the form of money or goods, including property.
Provide in a trust for your children if you divorce or die
May 6th, 2022
A trust is a useful tool to utilise in a divorce settlement, whereby a divorce settlement can be transferred into a trust and be applied for the benefit of typically minor children and a spouse. Similarly, one can ring-fence a maintenance obligation post-death in a trust. When you are divorced, the Divorce Act – and not the Maintenance of the Surviving Spouses Act – applies, whereby maintenance does not extend beyond the death of the maintenance payer unless the divorce order states that it applies.
Trustees have made distributions to beneficiaries to save tax, now what?
April 21st, 2022
Many boards of trustees have made distributions (often on paper only) to beneficiaries for the trusts’ February 2022 financial year-end in order to pay less tax on trust income and capital gains. A number of trustees forget that it does not stop there – beneficiaries had to be informed so they could include the distributions in their respective tax returns, trustees have to manage distributions separately for the beneficiaries and they have to keep proper records.
SARS is after the wealthy – how having a trust may help
March 25th, 2022
Today, the top 10% own about 85% of total wealth, the top 1% own 55%, and the top 0.1% own close to a third. The South African top 1% share has fluctuated between 50% and 55% since 1993, while it has remained below 45% in Russia and the US and below 30% in China, France, and the UK. The top 0.01% (about 3 560 individuals) own about 15% of household wealth, which is greater than the share of wealth owned by the bottom 90% of the population as a whole (32 million individuals). The average wealth of the poorest 50% is negative, as the total value of the debts they owe exceeds the market value of the assets they own. Our government has been imposing steadily higher taxes for decades. Currently, personal Income Tax (39,1%), Value Added Tax (26,5%) and Corporate Income Tax (16,4%) constitute the largest shares of tax revenues. Those in the top three brackets represent one third of the total personal Income Tax base.
Factors to consider before placing your primary residence in trust?
March 11th, 2022
In my previous article I discussed the potential benefits of holding one’s primary residence in trust. It is, however, important to consider important factors before placing your primary residence and other properties in a trust.
Should a trust hold your primary residence?
March 4th, 2022
Many people are in two minds, and may receive advice for and against, whether they should place or acquire their primary residence in a trust. For Estate Duty purposes, transferring immovable property into a trust ensures that any growth in the value of the property is contained within the trust, rather than in your personal estate, to the extent that such growth rate exceeds the official rate of interest (repo rate plus one percent currently 5%). Your assets are also protected from attacks by your personal creditors and/or the creditors of any companies that you might own and have signed sureties for.
That time of the year to make distributions to avoid paying tax in trusts?
February 25th, 2022
It is that time of the year (end of February each year) again that trustees have the opportunity to make distributions to beneficiaries to shift the tax liability away from the trust (which pays Income Tax at 45% from the first rand of income generated and Capital Gains Tax at 36% from the first rand of capital gains realised in the trust), to beneficiaries paying less or no tax at all (such as minor beneficiaries who do not earn any other income or capital gains). This is a tool that has been used by accountants and tax advisors for years in an (legal) attempt to pay less tax on trust income and capital gains. The questions is – is it that effective to just attempt to minimise the tax payable on this year’s trust Income Tax return?