Research Article

The normal tax consequences of home swaps for residents owning property in the Republic of South Africa


Abstract

“Home swapping” has become more accessible due to a global phenomenon, known as the sharing economy. Technological advancement has removed the barriers to international trade and members of home swapping programmes exchange rights to provide each other with accommodation in their homes both nationally and internationally. These exchanges can be facilitated through the exchange of an incorporeal non-cash benefit, constituting either points or rights and can essentially be seen as a short-term rental agreement. Incorporeal non-cash benefits fall within the ambit of a barter transaction and consequently within the scope of gross income. The main objective of this article is to determine the normal tax implications of a South African resident who owns a property in South Africa, upon receipt or accrual of the benefit of a successful home swap transaction. In order to meet this objective, South African and international literature was analysed to determine the recommended normal tax treatment of these home swap transactions. Home swap benefits were found to constitute gross income in terms of the Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962.

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