Q: My father has purchased a property and is putting it on my name for his own tax reasons. I have to sign legal documents etc. confirming my ‘ownership’ of this property. However, I will have nothing to do with the actual running of the property itself. I am thus his “Tax Shelter.” I asked my father as to who really owns the property to know for my own Zakaat (from the rental income) and inheritance reasons. He replied that he “owns” the property (and he is thus the one paying Zakaat on the rental income). And it is only upon his death, that I will be the actual owner.
(1) Despite the property being in my name formally, who truly owns the property in the Shari’a?
(2) Similarly, who should be paying Zakaat on the rental income?
(3) If my father takes all the rental income into his own bank account, is this usurpation?
1. Since he put the property on your name to avoid certain legal implications and has not made you the owner of it, he will still remain the owner.
2. Since he is the owner, he will have to pay the Zakaat.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Zakaria Makada
Checked & Approved:
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)