STEP Article – Trusts targeted by South Africa’s budget tax increases

Enjoy this short blog courtesy of STEP


“The South African 2017 budget, announced on 22 February 2017, raises tax on income retained by trusts from 41 to 45 per cent.


The trust anti-avoidance rule will be extended to cover low or interest-free loans to companies owned by a trust, if the trust has been set up for estate-planning purposes. It will not apply to employee share scheme trusts and certain trading trusts.


Specific anti-avoidance measures will be introduced to deal with the treatment of foreign companies held by interposed trusts.


Further, tax on non-residents’ land disposals will rise from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent for individuals, from 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent for companies, and from 10 per cent to 15 per cent for trusts.


The budget also introduces a new 45 per cent top rate of income tax for incomes above ZAR1.5 million (USD115,000), and increases the dividend withholding tax from 15 to 20 per cent. The latter measure takes effect immediately.


The foreign employment income tax exemption for South African residents is also to be restricted. The relief will be applicable only to the extent that the foreign employment income is actually subject to tax in the foreign country, according to Robert Gad of law firm ENS Africa.”