April 19, 2021

Arbitrary practices by SARS when issuing assessments

The Tax Administration Act provides for the audit and verification of taxpayers’ tax returns for all taxes administered by the Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service (SARS). In many instances, such requests for information are general, boiler-plate letters received by taxpayers, not indicating specifically what additional information SARS requires in the circumstances and which supporting documents must be provided. In recent times, in respect of both income tax and value-added tax, SARS has taken an arbitrary approach in issuing additional assessments based on information provided by taxpayers in response to the inadequate (or vague at best) requests for information. Income […]
February 9, 2021

Capital gains tax – When does it come into play?

The distinction between amounts received of a capital nature as opposed to a revenue (or income) nature is essential for income tax purposes. Non-capital amounts received, such as from the disposal of trading stock, are subject to tax at a higher effective rate compared to capital profits. The primary intention with which an asset is acquired is generally conclusive as to the nature of the receipt arising from the realisation of a capital asset unless other factors intervene which show that it was sold in pursuance of a profit-making scheme. It is not uncommon though, that a person’s intention in […]
March 12, 2018

ADDITIONAL MEDICAL EXPENSES TAX CREDIT

Section 6B of the Income Tax Act[1] provides for an additional medical expenses tax credit (“AMTC”) which is calculated against qualifying “out of pocket” medical expenses. This tax credit reduces the amount of income tax a natural person (hereinafter referred to as the “taxpayer”) is liable to pay. The AMTC is granted in addition to the medical scheme fees tax credit (“MTC”) in respect of fees paid to a registered medical scheme.[2] The AMTC can be claimed by a taxpayer in respect of medical expenses incurred by that individual towards the medical expenses of that taxpayer as well as any […]
August 10, 2017

FURTHER REFINEMENTS TO THE ATTACK ON INTEREST FREE LOANS TO TRUSTS

We previously reported on the introduction of section 7C of the Income Tax Act, 58 of 1962. In terms of this targeted anti-avoidance provision, National Treasury sought to attack interest free loans granted to trusts by connected persons of that trust. Typically, these loans would have arisen by virtue of an individual that would sell his or her asset to a trust of which he/she is a beneficiary for estate duty purposes on interest free loan account. By doing so, the asset’s value will grow in the trust, while the interest free loan will remain a non-appreciable, static asset in […]
August 10, 2017

PROVISIONAL TAX WHEN YOU SELL YOUR PROPERTY

The pregime operates as a continuous cash flow mechanism in favour of Government whereby tax on income earned is paid over provisionally in anticipation of the final tax liability to be calculated when a person is finally assessed to income tax. Where a person is required to be registered for provisional tax, estimates of taxable income are required to be submitted to SARS bi-annually (and provisional taxes paid accordingly), being after the first 6 months of the start of the person’s tax year, and again on the last day of that tax year. Quite a number of our clients are […]
July 5, 2017

THE VAT CONSEQUENCES OF CHANGE IN INTENDED USE OF GOODS

It happens ever so often that a business would purchase goods, and subsequently apply those goods in a different manner than it had initially intended to at the time that those goods were acquired. For example, a sole proprietor dealing in motor vehicles may decide to take one of those vehicles and apply it towards personal use. So too a property developer may decide to rather use one of its properties, up for sale, as new office premises for itself. It is often said in tax circles that Newton’s law (that every action has a reaction) should be extended: every […]
June 1, 2017

EXEMPTION FOR FOREIGN SALARY EARNERS

South African tax resident individuals are liable to income tax on their worldwide income. In other words, where a South African tax resident individual were to earn a salary for employment which may from time-to-time be exercised outside of the borders of the Republic, that income earned is still included in that South African tax resident individual’s gross income.An exemption is available though to South African employees where the extent of the services rendered abroad are significant.[1] The exemption is however limited to income earned in the form of remuneration from an employer and only to the extent that the […]
April 7, 2016

SO WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF TRUSTS?

One of the questions that we are most confronted with by our clients is what the future of trusts are in South Africa. Some questions even point to the misconception that the trust instrument itself as legal form is on the verge of being scrapped in South Africa altogether! The current debate raging is not at all that dramatic, although the consequences for taxpayers potentially may be. The “crystal ball” gazing exercise which we are so often requested to undertake stems from repeated warnings (some less subtle than other) by the Minister of Finance that the use of trusts as […]
July 30, 2015

The link between CGT and Income Tax

The name “Capital Gains Tax” (CGT) can create the impression that CGT stands on its own as a seperate tax from the rest of the taxes but this is not the case. CGT forms part of the Income Tax system and capital gains and capital losses must be declared in the annual Income Tax return of a taxpayer. If a taxpayer is not registered for Income Tax If a natural person is not registered for Income Tax and his/her taxable income consists only of a taxable capital gain or a deductible capital loss, the amount of which is more than […]