The formulation of a coherent South African approach to the classification of income and the taxation of international cross-border partnerships

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The taxation of international partnerships has particular relevance for South Africa. Zaaiman (2008:5) remarks that South African investors often have limited choice in the legal form of the entity in which they invest. Their lack of choice largely stems from the fact that the type of legal structure implemented internationally is shaped by the tax and commercial concerns relevant to the foreign jurisdiction in which such structure is established (Zaaiman, 2008:5). In South Africa, the taxation of partnerships has received very little attention. There is also no legislation in place dealing with this business vehicle. However, many South Africans are investing in offshore partnerships. There is accordingly a need to develop a comprehensive work on the taxation of cross-border partnerships. Furthermore, on a domestic level, the recent judgment delivered in Grundlingh v CSARS raised several issues regarding the taxation of cross-border partnerships. Of particular relevance to the common law of South Africa, is the yet unresolved tension which now seems to exist between the Grundlingh case and the well-established principles of the taxation of international partnerships as laid down by the then Appellate Division in the CIR v Epstein judgment. The comments made regarding partnerships in the CIR v Lever Bros3 judgment also seems to conflict with the Grundlingh case. Bearing in mind the principle of stare decisis and the constitutional obligation to develop South African common law in line with international law, it is necessary that a body of work be developed to begin the process of reconciling South African sources of law into one coherent approach, to the taxation of cross-border partnerships.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 57-60).