TRUSTEES: THE NEW TAX RETURN FORM – TAKE ADVICE NOW!
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Towards the end of last year, SARS introduced a new IT12T tax return form for trusts. For the current tax year these need to be completed in full. The return needs be lodged on or by 29 February 2016.
Trustees be aware – the form is twenty two pages long and will need planning and preparation.
Why a new form?
The SARS five year compliance programme (2012-2017) focused on high risk areas to SARS – one of which was high net-worth individuals and the use of trusts to shield assets from tax liability.
Thus, SARS is looking to gain new tax revenues from trusts and with twenty two pages of disclosure you need to be on your guard when completing the return.
The main features
Expanded financial and legal reporting requirements
Details of the trust’s offshore and local assets and liabilities
Comprehensive information on types of income (rental, farming partnerships etc)
Foreign and local capital gains and distribution of such gains to beneficiaries
Full details of all parties contributing funds, assets, loans etc. into the trust will need to be provided as well as details of the actual transactions made
Full details of any party benefitting in any way from the trust as well as details of the benefits received or enjoyed will need to be provided for every beneficiary
If there are 50 or less people to whom these transactions applied, then list every transaction in the IT12T return
If there are more than 50 people then provide detail of every transaction in excess of R500,000
What type of rights the beneficiaries enjoy (vested or discretionary rights).
As you can see this is quite an undertaking which apart from the time to prepare will also require substantial knowledge and understanding of taxation.
To make matters worse SARS intend issuing a replacement for this new return, possibly at short notice during October 2015. Note that any data captured and saved but not yet submitted to SARS on the current return will be lost on implementation of the new return.
The bottom line is that there has probably been no better time to seek advice from your accountant.