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South Africa: Additional disclosures on income tax returns of trusts

Additional disclosures on income tax returns of trusts

The South African Revenue Service (SARS), during the 2017 and 2018 legislative cycles, has proposed tax law changes to address what the tax agency views as mechanisms employed by taxpayers to defer or avoid the payment of taxes. One change that SARS intends to implement concerns additional disclosures on the income tax returns filed by trusts.


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The measures, with an effective date from 17 September 2018, would make changes to the form ITR12T, Income Tax Return for Trusts, in respect of the year of assessment ending on 28 February 2018. 

Among the areas on the ITR12T requiring additional disclosures or subject to change concern information about:

  • The type of trust
  • Income from farming operations 
  • Rules allowing the trustee to select one or both options “vested” and “discretionary” if applicable
  • A new question relating to imputed income from controlled foreign companies (CFC) 
  • New fields relating to reduction in debts, cash contributions to a rehabilitation trust fund, and amounts in respect of certain “tainted” intellectual property

Taxpayers that have already saved or submitted their 2018 ITR12T prior to implementation of these changes will not be required to fill out the new fields on the ITR12T. 

In general, taxpayers need to retain supporting documents for five years, measured from the date of filing the ITR12T, in the event SARS requests to verify the taxpayer’s documentation. Manually completed and posted versions of ITR12T are no longer accepted by SARS.


Read an October 2018 report [PDF 113 KB] prepared by the KPMG member firm in South Africa

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