‘Real-time’ reporting to SARS on trusts? Yes, maybe

Written by:

Phia van der Spuy

Phia van der Spuy

Phia van der Spuy is a Chartered Accountant with a Masters degree in tax and a registered Fiduciary Practitioner of South Africa®, a Chartered Tax Adviser, a Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) and the founder of Trusteeze®, the provider of a digital trust solution.
Real Time Reporting
Trusts are still largely unregulated, which frequently leads to their abuse. 

The Courts and SARS are, however, becoming impatient with trustees and trust service providers. In July 2021, SARS presented a webinar on Trust and Tax Obligations. SARS’s nine objectives were communicated and included the following: 

  • SARS will make non-compliance difficult and costly;
  • They are employing a strong workforce; 
  • They are going to expand the use of data; 
  • They are going to modernise their systems and, 
  • They are going to work with stakeholders (such as the Master). 

It was a clear message to the public to start getting their affairs in order. SARS acknowledged that while its trust capabilities might have been lacking in the past due to its specialised nature, it is now implementing measures to achieve its objectives. 

Noises are being made that SARS will soon require regular reporting on trusts – they are even speaking about ‘real-time’ reporting. Accountants and tax practitioners often proudly state that they pass SARS trust audits and acknowledge that they have provided sloppy information to SARS for many years and continue to get away with it. Those days are numbered and will be over soon! The current Trust Property Control Act is also in the process of being replaced, which will create more onerous reporting obligations, including the reporting of beneficial ownership in trusts.

Because trusts are specialised entities, their administration requires a unique approach. Trusteeze’s founders, who have worked in the finance industry for many years, identified the need for an innovative digital solution in the fiduciary environment and developed a platform, specifically for trusts, that provides a one-stop solution for accountants and other trust service providers to help them perform their duties, manage their risks, and assist their clients in complying with all legislation cost-effectively and efficiently. 

Trusteeze’s unique, seamless, user-friendly, automated, real-time, online, integrated banking, administration, and accounting (and soon taxation) platform can be used as a 100% standalone tool to provide complete trust administration. The core focus of the platform, which was developed to address the specific needs of trust compliance and management in the modern fiduciary world and bring the necessary tools and functionality required into a single environment, is to deliver a cost-effective but highly efficient method of managing multiple trusts. The system is the first in the world to integrate all functions and roles on one platform to achieve compliance. No other system automatically generates a trust’s accounting information as its compliance and administration (which are actually the important records for a trust) is taken care of. The solution provides measurable improvements in productivity and efficiency, leading to significant cost savings for service providers. 

Trusteeze has also secured a fully underwritten personal indemnity (PI) cover for professional trustees and trust administrators. Accountants and other trust service providers that provide trust services are generally not covered through their normal PI cover and are, therefore, at increased risk of attack. Trusteeze has secured favourable premiums from the insurer due to the service provider’s reduced risk when using the Trusteeze platform.

Trusteeze and GreatSoft partnered to assist accountants, providing trust services, to manage their risks and ensure that they assist their clients to comply with all legislation in a cost-effective, efficient manner. GreatSoft provides specialised Practice Management software to Accounting and Auditing firms. Decades of industry experience and thought leadership has made GreatSoft one of the leaders in the Accounting and Auditing industry. With expertise in Tax, Secretarial, Payroll and Time and billings for the time-based professional, and a wealth of experience in document management and collaboration, they advise their clients on the perfect solution for all Practice Management needs. 

Over time, accountants utilising the Trusteeze and GreatSoft platforms will experience a smooth integration in the provision of trust-related services. 

 

 

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