August 4, 2022

Section 24C Allowance: Future expenditure

The nature of a taxpayer’s business may be such that the taxpayer receives amounts under a contract that will be used to finance expenditure to be incurred in future in performing under that contract. Generally, this would result in an inclusion of the amount in that taxpayer’s income in that year of assessment. In contrast, a deduction for the expenditure incurred will only be available in a future tax year. An adverse tax liability would, therefore, arise in the year of receipt of the amount. Section 24C of the Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962 (“the Act”) serves as […]
July 6, 2022

Home office expenditure

Taxpayers who are salaried employees have limited deductions available to them. However, home office expenditure can be claimed as an income tax deduction, but the onus is on the taxpayer to prove that the expenses are in fact deductible. For employment to constitute a “trade” and to qualify to deduct home office expenditure, the taxpayer should prove that the home office: Is specifically equipped for this purpose: the home office must be equipped with the necessary tools and equipment required to render the trade (desks, chairs, computers, printers, trade-specific equipment, etc.). A lounge, living room, or empty, unoccupied room will […]
June 8, 2022

Wear-and-tear allowance

Capital expenditure incurred in the production of income and in carrying on of a trade does not qualify for a deduction under the so-called general deduction formula in section 11(a) of the Income Tax Act No 58 of 1962 (the Act). The Act does, however, grant deductions or allowances for specific types of capital expenditure that a taxpayer incurs in carrying on its trade. These deductions or allowances are generally spread over several years, whereas section 11(a) provides for a full deduction in a single year. The most-commonly-used section of the Act that allows for capital allowances is section 11(e). […]
June 8, 2022

Correction of an assessment: Section 93

As portrayed in the Tax Administration Act No 28 of 2011 (TAA), the dispute resolution rules lay out the legal framework to be followed by both the taxpayer and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to resolve disputes. Section 93 of the TAA lists a number of circumstances under which SARS can reduce a taxpayer’s tax liability by means of issuing a reduced assessment. An aggrieved taxpayer has the right to dispute a decision or an assessment that SARS has issued. Section 93(1)(d), other than the formal dispute resolution process, introduces a less formal mechanism to request the correction of […]
January 26, 2022

Retirement saved from controversial tax proposal

When an individual ceases to be a South African tax resident prior to retirement from a South African retirement fund and becomes tax resident of another country, that individual’s interest in a retirement fund may, on payment of a lump sum or monthly pension, be subject to tax in the other country. The application of a tax treaty between South African and the country of tax residence may, in some instances, result in South Africa forfeiting its taxing rights – while the taxpayer benefited from tax concessions for contributions. Taxpayers who remain residents, only have access to their retirement interest […]
October 14, 2021

Disputing SARS decision and assessments

A taxpayer who is aggrieved by an assessment or decision of SARS against that taxpayer has the right to dispute that assessment or decision. If an original assessment has not been issued, SARS may request a taxpayer to submit an amended return to correct an undisputed error made in the prior return. In the case where an assessment has already been issued, the dispute resolution rules in the Tax Administration Act provides the legal framework to be followed by both SARS and the taxpayer to resolve any disputes. Section 93(1)(d) of the Tax Administration Act provides an alternative to the […]
May 4, 2021

Why do I need to know my rights as a taxpayer?

Since the introduction of the Tax Administration Act in 2011, which aimed to consolidate most of the administrative matters in tax acts, taxpayers have become ever more aware of their rights in dealing with the South African Revenue Service (SARS). There has also been a significant increase in the number of cases in the Tax Court (as well as in our High Courts) that relate not to substantive tax matters, but rather to the exercise of taxpayers’ rights. We briefly highlight below some of the rights that taxpayers have in terms of the Tax Administration Act, and which they may wish to enforce at […]
February 5, 2020

For how long can your taxes haunt you?

In terms of section 99 of the Tax Administration Act, 28 of 2011, an assessment may not be made three years after the date of an original assessment by the South African Revenue Service (SARS), or in the case of a self-assessment by a taxpayers (such as in the case of a Value-Added Tax return), five years after the date of an original assessment. These periods are generally referred to as the prescription rules and are in place to ensure that finality is eventually brought to a tax period. Essentially, therefore, the prescription rules provide that tax periods do not […]
October 10, 2018


The frustration experienced by taxpayers and the complexity of registering a trust as a taxpayer with the South African Revenue Service (SARS), has been widely publicised in recent years. Despite calls from industry bodies for a simplified approach (like companies and individuals), registering a trust as a taxpayer remains an overly complex process. The inconsistency of information received by taxpayers between the SARS website and different branch offices is one of the areas of major concern. SARS’ website, for example, indicates that either certified or uncertified copies of identity documents are acceptable, whereas branch officers only accept certified copies. Another […]
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