Don’t jointly subscribe for shares

If you subscribe for shares in a trading company, and later dispose of them at a loss, you can normally offset the loss against other taxable income (section 131 of the 2007 Income Tax Act).

However, the Taxman has found a wrinkle in the tax legislation such that he thinks subscriber shares issued in joint names (usually married couples) cannot benefit from this offset.  Section 131 applies to shares “which have been subscribed for by the individual”.  The Taxman argues that jointly owned shares are subscribed for by a couple rather than an individual and thus the offset is not available.

A way round this is for one individual to subscribe for the shares and then transfer some of them to their spouse. The spouse is then treated as subscribing for the shares in their own right. 

This is how we recommend shares are subscribed for when effective joint ownership is desired.

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