September 17, 2020

Will SARS suspend my obligation to pay when I dispute an assessment?

With the 2020 tax filing season in full swing, many taxpayers are likely to engage in dispute proceedings as their income tax assessments are issued by SARS. This will particularly be the case where errors are contained on the so-called “auto-assessments” (which in itself is a misnomer). But what happens to the disputed tax amount until the process is finalised? Pay now, argue later The basic premise is that even though you disagree with an amount of tax, once you have been assessed by SARS, the amount becomes due. Neither your obligation to pay the tax, nor SARS’s right to recover the tax, is suspended by any objections or appeals against the assessment or pending court proceedings (i.e. you have to pay the tax, […]
September 17, 2020

How are foreign pensions affected by SA tax?

Although there has been an increasing trend in recent times of emigrations from South Africa, there are many projects by the Department of Home Affairs to market South Africa as a friendly retirement destination for foreigners. The question, therefore, often arises: How will foreign pensions be taxed locally once persons become tax resident. The Income Tax Act, in section 10(1)(gC), allows for an exemption of any amount received or accrued by a resident under the Social Security System of another country, or a lump sum, pension or annuity received by any resident from a source outside of South Africa. For this exemption to apply, the employment which gave rise to the funding of the foreign pension should be as a result of past employment outside of South Africa as well. […]
September 17, 2020

New caution required this tax season as scams abound

In late August 2020, a large credit bureau in South Africa was the target of a data breach where millions of private individual and company data records were compromised. This data leakage, coupled with the tax filing season, makes for the perfect opportunity for taxpayers’ information to be abused, subjecting taxpayers to potential financial loss. Scammers thrive on the inherent vulnerability of taxpayers during the tax season and know how to capitalise on the taxpayers’ struggles in dealing with SARS and their fear of the tax process. In Augusts 2020 alone, many correspondence scams that contain links to phishing websites have already been identified: SARS eFiling a statement of account has been issued – 19 August 2020 Correspondence for your attention – 17 August 2020 Audit SMS – 13 August 2020 Online funds redemption – 11 […]
July 28, 2020

Safeguard your children’s inheritance

Ensuring their children are cared for when they pass away is one of the primary reasons people draw up a will. But what happens when the best interests of the children that are left behind are not at the forefront when an estate is administered and maintenance needs to be paid? This is, unfortunately, a question that many minor beneficiaries and their guardians have had to come face to face with over the years in their dealings with the Guardian’s Fund. The Guardians Fund is a Government entity, regulated by the Master of the High Court, that is responsible for […]
July 28, 2020

Where to find money when you have no money

As COVID-19 has ravaged the economy and stripped it bare of tens of thousands of jobs, there is a real threat to the livelihoods of many ordinary working South Africans. As happens during a time of economic recession, some businesses are unable to pay full salaries, have to scale down and have to let workers go in order to survive the results of stunted economic activity in their industry. Job loss is never easy. When found in such a precarious position, one difficulty is knowing where one might find the resources to stay afloat and get ready to re-enter the […]
July 28, 2020

Setting your business up for expansion

When businesses expand, they often look beyond national borders. With such an expansion, there are several added advantages for establishing a holding company, which then owns the various group operating companies in different jurisdictions. Various aspects contribute to considering an ideal holding company location, and a brief discussion is outlined below. Political stability Political instability and constant political upheavals cause uncertainty within the jurisdiction and foreign countries that do business with that jurisdiction. Ease of doing business This does not specifically refer to actual business done by the company but relates to the associated (support) industries that one may encounter […]
July 28, 2020

Does your home office qualify you for a tax deduction?

As the old adage goes, change is as good as a holiday. But the way that the novel coronavirus has shaken up the world we live in, has, to the contrary, been extremely disruptive and stress-inducing. For many people, the disruption has come in the form of shifting from the traditional office space to working from home. People who had been working flexi-hours or may have been self-employed and working from a home office might be very familiar with claiming business-related expenses from their personal income tax as a tax-deductible expense. For the everyday worker, though, the shift to working […]
July 7, 2020

Why an estate plan is crucial

We’ve all seen it in movies and novels: A young unsuspecting person wakes up one day to find out that they had been left an extraordinarily large estate from a distant relative that they hardly knew existed. We chalk it up to an absurdity. Something like that would never happen in real life, would it? Although it may seem farfetched, intestate succession happens far more often than one might realise. Statistics from the Master of the High Court in September 2019 showed that 70% of working South Africans do not have a will (or by extension, estate plan). Apart from […]
July 7, 2020

Meeting the requirements of export regulations

Interpretation Note 30 (“IN 30”) by the South African Revenue Service (“SARS”) explains the requirements that need to be adhered to and prescribes the documentary proof, acceptable to the Commissioner, that must be obtained and retained by a vendor in order to levy value-added tax (“VAT”) at zero rate on a supply of movable goods, where those goods are consigned or delivered to a recipient at an address in an export country. Should these requirements not be adhered to, exports could potentially be accounted for at the standard VAT rate of 15%, which will result in adverse tax (and commercial) […]
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