IN WHAT ENTITY SHOULD YOU PURCHASE A PROPERTY?
As property is a big investment, the entity you choose to purchase your property in could have a major impact on your finances. It is a very important decision. The answer in respect of which entity you choose is not an easy one as there are numerous factors that must be taken into account.
In the majority of cases when spouses are purchasing a primary home, it would be advisable to register the property in the names of both spouses. However, this may not always be ideal. Here are some examples where a different ownership set up would be better:
A: In such circumstances it would be better to register the home in the other spouse’s name so that in the event of the former’s insolvency the family would at least retain their home.
A: The property can be registered in both partners’ names, but co-ownership can be problematic if the relationship sours. A separate agreement should be entered into by the partners to cover the consequences of a break up. This agreement would cover items such as who has the right to stay on in the property and at what rate and price the staying partner may purchase the leaving partner’s share.
A: It would probably make sense to register the property in the wife’s name as her life expectancy is a lot more than her husband’s and on his death no property transfer will be necessary thereby saving transfer costs. Should the husband survive the wife and inherit the home there will be transfer costs, but no transfer duty will be payable.
A: In such circumstances it would be better to register the new home in the wife’s name using some of her investments to make up the shortfall and the husband should invest his 1/2 share of the home which has been sold.
At a 7% return on R2million this would bring an income of say R140,000.00 and mean they would pay no tax on such income, thereby saving about R5 000.00 per month for the family as a whole if the wife’s marginal tax rate was 40%.
In addition the wife will no longer earn income on the additional R2million capital she needs to contribute to the new home which will likely also reduce her marginal tax rate.
A: The father might want to register the home in both their names, but then his daughter would, on resale, forfeit half the value of the primary residence capital gain rebate in respect of the home. It would be wiser for the father to register a bond of security rather than take transfer of half the home if he is concerned about his investment.
A: a trust would appear to be the best option as income earned in excess of the interest payment could be allocated to beneficiaries thereby ensuring a lower tax rate for the family as a whole. In addition the trust income which is allocated but retained in the trust could be utilized to purchase further flats without Section 7C of the Income Tax Act being a problem.
A: A company appears to be the best option as rental retained in the company and utilized to purchase further flats would only be taxed at 28%. If registered in the name of a person or trust, the rent would attract income tax at a much higher rate than 28%.
The company shares should ideally be held by a trust to minimize estate duty, but one must ensure that section 7C of the Income Tax Act is properly considered.
As every person’s circumstances are different we need to look at each person’s particular situation when advising on property ownership. In addition it is also possible that more than one of the above factors applies to a person and that in turn could further affect the decision as to what entity should purchase the property.
The decision as to which entity you use is of vital importance and could have major future financial consequences for a person and their family. For this reason it is important to consult with an attorney with property, trust, company and estate planning experience before making a decision.
Contact one of our Conveyancers for further advice or assistance with this topic and other property related topics. We are happy to be a part of our clients experience before, during and after their property transfer, making the experience as smooth and understandable as possible.
(*So as not to complicate matters we have, in respect of the examples, above assumed that the R40 000.00 yearly capita/ gains tax rebate for individuals and R300 000.00 capita/ gains tax rebate for estates has been utilized).
This article is for general information should not be used or relied on as legal or other 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 an attorney for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)