What is an asset?

We define assets as including—
(a) property of whatever nature, whether movable or immovable, corporeal or incorporeal, excluding any currency, but including any coin made mainly from gold or platinum; and
(b) a right or interest of whatever nature to or in such property;
The definition of an ‘asset’ is of importance, as CGT is, with few exceptions, not triggered until an asset is disposed of. A wide definition has been ascribed to the term, which includes all forms of property and all rights or interests in such property. The exclusion of currency is dealt with below.
A few examples of assets are listed below:
  • Land and buildings, for example, a factory building, a person’s home, or holiday home;
  • Shares;
  • A participatory interest in a collective investment scheme;
  • An endowment policy;
  • Collectables, for example, jewellery or an artwork;
  • Personal-use assets, for example, a boat;
  • Contractual rights;
  • Goodwill;
  • A trade mark;
  • A loan;
  • A bank account;
  • Trading stock. In a going concern a disposal of trading stock will usually not give rise to a capital gain or loss because double deductions and double taxation are prevented in determining base cost and proceeds.
Deferred tax assets
For accounting purposes a deferred tax asset can arise, for example, when income that will be recognised for accounting purposes in a later financial year is subject to tax in the current financial year. The tax paid is recognised as an asset in the current year’s financial statements and expensed only in the year when the related income is recognised for accounting purposes. A deferred tax asset is not, however, an asset for CGT purposes.
Top Tip: the word ‘property’ refers to anything that can be disposed of and turned into money. Things that are incapable of private ownership are excluded.
Last Updated: 01/12/2020 1:03 PM     print this page
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 Top FAQs

I hold unit trusts as well as shares on the JSE. Must the market value on valuation date for CGT purposes be calculated as at close of business on 30 September 2001 or close of business on 1 October 2001?
SARS has published the market values to be used for securities on the JSE and for domestic unit trusts on this website. These were also published in Government Gazette 23037 of 25 ​

How must the base cost of my demutualisation shares be determined?
The valuation date value of demutualisation shares in Old Mutual and Sanlam can be determined by using any of the four methods available for this purpose, namely, market value, time-apportionment, 20% of proceeds or weighted average.