oa Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences - An investigation into the future of discretionary trusts in South Africa - an income tax perspective
Trusts have long been associated with elaborate tax avoidance schemes, primarily as a result of their flow-through nature. In the National Budget the Minister of Finance indicated that the government was proposing several legislative measures during 2013/2014 regarding trusts to control abuse. At this stage the proposals are vague and confusing, but it is intimated that the conduit pipe principle may be under review as the proposals state that trusts should no longer act as a flow-through vehicle, meaning that the amounts distributed to the beneficiaries will no longer retain their original identity. The main objective of the research was to clarify the proposed changes to the taxation of trusts, to investigate the potential impact(s) of these proposals (albeit unclear and consequently based on certain assumptions), and to assess whether discretionary trusts still have a future in South Africa given these proposals. In order to meet this objective, a qualitative approach based on a literature study of pure theoretical aspects was used. It was found that should the proposals become law the beneficiaries will be worse off.
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