SA lifts long term prohibition on Loop Structures

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The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) issued Exchange Control Circular No. 1/2021 to raise the restriction on the so-called ‘loop structure’ in an effort to encourage inward investments into South Africa. The reform was efficient as 1 January 2021 and applies to personal people and corporations, together with non-public fairness funds, which might be tax resident in South Africa.

A loop structure is broadly any association beneath which a South African resident invests in an offshore car which, in flip, invests in South African property. Previously such constructions have been permitted solely in very restricted situations, corresponding to the place SA residents held 40% or much less of the shares in a international company that held pursuits again into SA.

This is a big alternate management leisure that can influence many constructions for each corporates and people. The transfer was first introduced by Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni in his Budget Statement final February. It was then reiterated in his Medium Term Budget Speech (MTBS) delivered final October, when he stated: “Work is well advanced to modernise the cross-border flows management regime to support South Africa’s growth as an investment and financial hub for Africa.”

The finish of the loop structuring prohibition will enable South African residents elevated offshore planning alternatives and funding flexibility, stated Sovereign Trust (SA) Managing Director Richard Neal.

An explanatory observe to the MTBS said: “The full ‘loop structure’ restriction has been lifted to encourage inward investments into South Africa, subject to reporting to Financial Surveillance Department of the SARB as and when the transaction is finalised. This reform will be effective from 1 January 2021 for companies, including private equity funds, provided that the entity is a tax resident in South Africa.”

In phrases of the brand new provisions, South African firms and South African resident people with authorised international property will be capable of put money into South African property offered that, the place South African property are acquired via an offshore structure, the funding is reported to an authorised vendor. It may even be required to confirm that the transactions are entered into on an arm’s size foundation and for market worth consideration. Existing unauthorised loop constructions should nonetheless be regularised with the Financial Surveillance Department of the SARB.

The SA authorities, it appears, has taken the choice to cease attempting to fight tax avoidance via the usage of alternate controls moderately than tax avoidance laws. All shoppers which might be at the moment invested in loop constructions or which have been prevented from making investments by the loop structure restrictions, ought to contemplate the influence of those modifications on their present or future investments.


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