Fringe Benefits, Loans, Donations Tax and Dividends Tax - Interest Rates
- If inadequate interest is charged to an employee (including working directors) on loans (other than for the purpose of furthering his own studies) in excess of R3 000 from his employer (or associated institution),
tax on the fringe benefit may be payable.
Unless interest is charged at the "official" rate or greater, the employee is deemed to have received a taxable fringe benefit calculated as being the difference between the interest actually charged and interest
calculated at the "official" rate.
For employees' tax purposes, the tax deduction must be made whenever interest is payable. If not regularly, then on a monthly basis for monthly paid employees, weekly for weekly paid employees, etc.
- Distributions of income and capital gains from a company / close corporation are normally subject to Dividends Tax at the flat rate of 20%. Loans or advances to or for the benefit of a shareholder / member will be deemed to be dividends but only to the extent that interest at less than the "official" rate (or market related rate in the case of foreign currency loans) is payable on the loan or fringe benefits tax is payable on an interest free (or subsidised interest) loan to an employee.
It is not the amount of the loan but the interest reduction which is deemed to be a dividend. Low interest loans are accordingly subject to Dividends Tax payable by the company and only in respect of the
- Loans to Trusts by natural connected persons with interest charged below the official rate create a donation subject to donations tax at 20%. Contact us for more details.
- With effect from 1 March 2011, the official rate has been defined as the rate of interest equal to the South African "repo rate" plus 1%. For foreign currency loans, the rate is the equivalent of the foreign "repo rate" plus 1%. The South African repo rate is currently 6.5% p.a.
The “official” rate of interest over the past 5 years
With effect from 1 February 2014 - 6.5% p.a.
With effect from 1 August 2014 - 6.75% p.a.
With effect from 1 August 2015 - 7.0% p.a.
With effect from 1 December 2015 - 7.25% p.a.
With effect from 1 February 2016 - 7.75% p.a.
With effect from 1 April 2016 - 8.0% p.a.
With effect from 1 August 2017 - 7.75% p.a.
With effect from 1 April 2018 - 7.5% p.a.
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