The name “Capital Gains Tax” (CGT) can create the impression that CGT stands on its own as a separate tax from the rest of the taxes but this is not the case. CGT forms part of the Income Tax system and capital gains and capital losses must be declared in the annual Income Tax return of a taxpayer.
If a taxpayer is not registered for Income Tax
If a natural person is not registered for Income Tax and his/her taxable income consists only of a taxable capital gain or a deductible capital loss, the amount of which is more than R30 000, the person will have to register as a taxpayer with SARS. In addition, the new taxpayer will have to submit an Income Tax return for that tax year.
If a taxpayer is already registered for Income Tax, they don’t have to register for CGT separately as CGT forms part of Income Tax.
Tax treatment of capital gains in three steps
The first step is to calculate the capital gain according to the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 58 of 1962. A discussion of the formulas to calculate the amount of capital gains and capital losses fall outside the scope of this article.
The second step is to reduce the capital gain with any exclusions which might be applicable. Please contact your tax advisor to find out if you qualify for any CGT exclusions.
Step three will be to include the taxable amount of the capital gain in the taxable income of the taxpayer. There are different inclusion rates for the following categories of taxpayers:
- For natural persons, deceased or insolvent estates, and special trusts the taxable inclusion rate is 33,3% (increased to 40% from 1 March 2016). In other words, 33,3% of the aggregate capital gain will be added to the taxable income of the taxpayer and the taxpayer will have to pay more income tax.
- Companies, close corporations and trusts (excluding special trusts) have a taxable inclusion rate of 66,6% (increased to 80% effective from 1 March 2016). This means that 66,6% of the aggregate capital gain will be added to the taxable income and taxed at the normal income tax rate of the taxpayer.
As a taxable capital gain will be added to the taxable income of a taxpayer, it will have an effect on certain deductions in the income tax calculation while other deductions will not be affected.
The following tax deductions for individual taxpayers will not be affected by the inclusion of a taxable capital gain in the taxable income of the taxpayer:
- Pension fund contributions
- Retirement annuity fund contributions
Tax deductions that will be affected by the inclusion of a taxable capital gain in an income tax calculation are the following:
- Medical expenses (only applicable to individual taxpayers)
If a taxpayer’s medical deduction is subject to the 7,5% of taxable income-limitation, the deductible amount for medical expenses will become smaller if a taxable capital gain is included in the taxable income.
- Section 18A donations
A taxpayer can include the taxable capital gain in taxable income before calculating the 10%-limit for the tax deduction of Section 18A donations. The allowable tax deduction of these donations will then increase by 10% of the amount of the taxable capital gain.
Tax treatment of capital losses
Capital losses may not be deducted from taxable income but must be set off against current or future capital gains. If there is insufficient capital gains to offset the full capital loss in the current tax year, the unclaimed balance of the capital loss is carried forward to the next tax year(s) until it has been fully offset against future capital gains.
As a capital gain/loss can have a material effect on a taxpayer’s liability for Income Tax, it is crucial to calculate these amounts accurately and take advantage of all the exclusions that might be applicable to the taxpayer. For further assistance regarding any aspect of capital gains/losses, please contact your tax advisor.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice.