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SARS puts trusts in the spotlight

08 Dec 2014

Conrad SmithSpeculation about SARS’ increased focus on trusts has been fuelled by the October 2014 amendments to trust returns.

The amended returns now feature:

  • Expanded financial and legal reporting requirements,
  • Details of all parties contributing funds and assets to the trust, and
  • Details of any party benefitting from the trust as well as the details of these benefits.

It is not yet clear what SARS intends doing with the newly acquired information, but it does confirm that SARS wishes to gain more insight into the way in which trusts are being used.

To ensure that your trust meets the new requirements, the following needs adequate attention:

  • The trustees should be informed of transactions, and should form part of a decision-making process,
  • There should be sufficient record keeping of transactions,
  • The decision-making process involving large transactions should be documented in the form of minutes,
  • Minutes on issues such as distributions will become extremely important,
  • The trustees should partner with specialists who are able to advise them on technical issues.

Where the administration of a trust may have been neglected in the past, it is now essential that trustees take steps to improve it to a high standard.

For more information please contact Conrad Smith on / 021 852 0382

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