Die gevolge van kapitaalwinsbelasting by die vermindering of aflossing van 'n skuld / deur M. Strydom
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The decision of an estate owner to employ a trust as an estate planning instrument normally involves the disposal of all or part of his growth assets to the trust. This is done to ensure that the value of such growth assets is pegged down in his personal estate, whilst any growth in the assets occurs in the trust. The objective is to minimise any estate duty that will be payable after his death. The transfer of such assets and the concomitant negotiation of the settlement of the purchase price are normally agreed to occur on loan account which will be repayable on demand. Subsequent to the disposal of the assets, it is a well established estate planning technique for the estate owner to reduce the loan account by annually waiving R30 000 of such loan in favour of the trust. This results in reducing the debit loan (asset) in the hands of the estate owner and thereby also improving his position from an estate duty point of view. The liability (credit loan) of the trust is thereby annually reduced. Because an individual can donate R30 000 annually free of donations tax, no additional donations tax liability will be incurred when applying this technique. Most estate owners that have applied the abovementioned technique, include in their will a provision whereby they bequeath any outstanding loan from the trust at the date of the testator's death, to the trust as a legatee. On 1 October 2001 South Africa entered into a new tax dispensation with the introduction of capital gains tax (CGT). Comprehensive legislation was included in the Income Tax Act (8th schedule) to regulate this new form of taxation. Paragraph 12(5) of the 8th schedule specifically stipulates that a reduction or waiver of a loan/debt will attract CGT. Therefore the above mentioned techniques of donating a portion, and subsequently bequeathing the outstanding loan amount to a trust suddenly became the target of SARS' close scrutiny from a CGT perspective. Hence, it was no surprise that the first High Court decision on CGT had recently been delivered in this regard. The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate and scrutinise, not only the decision in the abovementioned court case, but also the various opinions and arguments raised on this topic. The submission is that the findings and conclusions of such an investigation should enable those involved in estate planning and the preparation of wills to be wary of the CGT risks attached to the abovementioned techniques and to avoid the pitfalls. Certain recommendations and conclusions to achieve the same estate planning result, are proposed in this dissertation. Certain suggestions were also made with regards to the wording of provisions to be included in a will in order to bequeath a loan or debt to a trust without the risk of attracting unforeseen CGT.
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