Images-02The South African Revenue Service (“SARS”) implemented several changes to the income tax returns for trusts (the ITR12T) on 26 February 2018. These changes apply in respect of the year of assessment ending on or after 28 February 2017, unless taxpayers have already saved or submitted the relevant 2017 ITR12T prior to the implementation of these latest changes.

One of the important changes includes the updating of the supporting trust participant schedule to the ITR12T in order to identify loans granted to the trust that are subject to the provisions of the newly introduced section 7C of the Income Tax Act.[1] This section deals with interest-free or low-interest loans to a trust that are made directly or indirectly by a natural person or a company in certain specific circumstances. Should these provisions apply, section 7C deems the interest foregone on the loan to be a continuing annual donation that attracts donations tax. This donation is deemed to be made on the last day of the year of assessment of the trust[2] (which is generally the last day of February) and is payable by the end of the month following the month during which the donation takes effect (which would then be the end of March).[3]

Also, trusts that are collective investment schemes or employee share incentive schemes are no longer required to disclose information relating to the details of persons that transacted with the trust. However, all other trusts must ensure that income distributed by the trust to other persons are fully disclosed. Additional validations in this regard were therefore also introduced.

Other amendments to the ITR12T include the introduction of a new local income type which relates to dividends that are deemed to be income in terms of section 8E and section 8EA of the Income Tax Act. (These provisions are aimed at penalising debt instruments that have been disguised as equity in order to avoid tax.)

The ITR12T also includes a new detailed schedule relating to learnerships for purposes of claiming the deduction in terms of section 12H of the Income Tax Act. Separate disclosure is required for learners with a disability and learners without a disability for both NQF levels 1 to 6 and NQF levels 7 to 10. Also, the number of learners and the allowance amount for each of these fields must be completed.

The take away is that trusts should carefully consider these new requirements in order to ensure that the new ITR12T is completed correctly.

[1] No. 58 of 1962

[2] Section 7C of the Income Tax Act

[3] Section 60(1) of the Income Tax Act

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)