March 20, 2021

Auditing your tax compliance profile

Taxpayers who make use of the South African Revenue Service’s (SARS) electronic filing system (or as it is generally known, eFiling) will know that, in addition to containing a history of income returns, value-added tax, pay-as-you-earn, etc., a significant amount of personal and company data is stored on the platform. This includes information such as banking details, a person’s physical address, email addresses, and relevant contact persons for companies. Although the system can reportedly handle up to 150 000 returns per day during individual tax filing season, electronic filing usage is far below other countries such as the United States, where more than 90% of returns are filed electronically. The purpose of SARS’s access to personal […]
July 7, 2020

Rescission of judgments by SARS: Barnard Labuschagne Inc v SARS

The judgment deals with an application for rescission of a judgment by Barnard Labuschagne (Applicant), where SARS took judgment under the provisions of chapter 11 of the Tax Administration Act (TAA). SARS filed a certified statement in terms of Section 172 of the TAA with the Registrar of the Court, setting out an amount of liquid debt due by the Applicant in respect of PAYE, VAT, UIF and SDL, and payable to SARS. The Applicant is a law practice in the Western Cape and brought an application to rescind, based on various contentions. Over an extended time, the Applicant had […]
June 3, 2020

Can a third party collect my taxes?

Decisions of South Africa’s courts are an essential source of law. The courts uphold and enforce the Constitution and develop common law that is consistent with the values of the Constitution, and the spirit and purpose of the Bill of Rights. In a taxation context, court decisions assist in how legislation must be interpreted or confirm the rights and obligations of taxpayers and the South African Revenue Service alike. One, therefore, cannot appreciate the tax landscape, without having regard for the decisions of our courts. In SIP Project Managers (Pty) Ltd v CSARS (29 April 2020), the Gauteng Division of the High […]
June 3, 2020

The disclosing of taxpayer details

Decisions of South Africa’s courts are an essential source of law. The courts uphold and enforce the Constitution and develop common law that is consistent with the values of the Constitution, and the spirit and purpose of the Bill of Rights. In a taxation context, court decisions assist in how legislation must be interpreted or confirm the rights and obligations of taxpayers and the South African Revenue Service alike. One, therefore, cannot appreciate the tax landscape, without having regard for the decisions of our courts. In the case of the Commissioner for SARS vs Public Protector (23 March 2020) in […]
May 11, 2020

Tax law for employer transport services

In terms of the Tax Administration Act, the South African Revenue Service (“SARS”) can issue Binding General Rulings (“BGR”) on matters of general interest or importance and clarifies the Commissioner’s application or interpretation of the tax law relating to these matters. BGR 50 provides clarity on the so-called “no-value” provision in respect of the rendering of transport services by an employer to its employees. Background Employers may often provide employees with transport services from their homes to the place of employment. Although it typically applies where places of work are remote, such as in the farming or mining sectors, the […]
September 8, 2017

TREASURY MOVES TO CLOSE CGT AVOIDANCE LOOPHOLE THROUGH SHARE BUYBACKS

Where one company previously sought to dispose of its shares in another company, it was able to do so without incurring an exposure for capital gains tax (“CGT”) or dividends tax, if that disposal were structured as an issue of shares by the target company to the “purchaser”, followed by a corresponding buyback of shares by the target company from the “seller”. For example: Company A holds 50% of the shares in Company X (which stake is worth R500,000). A had acquired the 50% interest for R50. B approached A with an offer to purchase the 50% for R500,000. A […]
March 17, 2016

TAX PENALTIES: UNDERSTATEMENT PENALTIES IN THE TAX ADMINISTRATION ACT

The Tax Administration Act, 28 of 2011, introduced the notion of ‘understatement penalties’ which are levied on a percentage based method.  The penalties are levied depending on which behaviour is exhibited by the taxpayer, to be classified in terms of the below table contained in section 223(1): 1 2 3 4 5 6 Item Behaviour Standard case If obstructive, or if it is a ‘repeat case’ Voluntary disclosure after notification of audit or investigation Voluntary disclosure before notification of audit or investigation (i) ‘Substantial understatement’ 10% 20% 5% 0% (ii) Reasonable care not taken in completing return 25% 50% 15% […]