The capital v revenue question in the context of government grants: The SCA decides in favour of the motor manufacturing industry

Author: Louis Botha and Louise Kotze. In the recent case of Volkswagen South Africa (Pty) Ltd v Commissioner for South African Revenue Service 80 SATC 179, the age-old question of whether a receipt is capital or revenue in nature was addressed by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), in the context of government grants paid to motor vehicle manufacturers.

Is it time to lower South Africas income tax rates?

Author: David Warneke, Head of Income Tax Technical, BDO South Africa. A fundamental question posed by commentators around the 2018 National Budget was whether an increase in personal or corporate income tax rates, or both, would be announced. The consensus, which proved to be correct, was that such increases were unlikely. The main reasons given were that personal and corporate income tax rates are already high by international standards. Personal income tax rates, mainly due to the introduction of the 45% maximum marginal rate in the 2017/2018 income tax year of assessment for taxable income above R1.5 million, and also since relatively high marginal rates are reached at low taxable income levels, by global standards. Corporate income tax rates, as the rates in most of our main trading partners are lower than ours and globally rates are decreasing.

Reducing the cost of transfer pricing compliance for MNEs

Author: Okkie Kellerman (ENS Africa). Many countries have become more focused on combating tax avoidance. As such, transfer pricing compliance has become much more burdensome due to substantial documentation requirements and multiple filing deadlines. Multinationals (MNEs) have to take action to control their transfer pricing risks, but the cost of doing so could substantially increase.

Controlled foreign companies: look before you leap

Authors: Carmen Gers and Simone Krupanandham (ENS Africa). Section 9D of the Income Tax Act, 1962 (the Act) is aimed at South African residents who directly or indirectly hold more than 50% of the total participation (broadly speaking shares) or voting rights in a foreign company. A foreign company in this context is classified as a controlled foreign company (CFC). In terms of section 9D, the net income of the CFC is included in the relevant residents income in proportion to the residents effective participation rights in that CFC, thus resulting in the resident being subject to tax on such notional income imputed to it.

Revised debt reduction rules

The debt reduction provisions contained in section 19 of the Income Tax Act, 1962 (the Act) and paragraph 12A of the Eighth Schedule to the Act have been amended with effect from 1 January 2018 and are applicable to years of assessment commencing on or after that date. As a result of the changes, the ambit of these provisions has widened significantly, as discussed below, and the additional circumstances to the rules find application are worth noting.

Major new tax burden introduced

Author: David Warneke (Partner and head of Tax Technical at BDO South Africa). The Taxation Laws Amendment Act of 2017 (Act 17 of 2017) which was promulgated on 18 December 2017 contains provisions, namely section 22B of the principal Income Tax Act and paragraph 43A of the Eighth Schedule to the Income Tax Act, that will result in a significant compliance burden for companies, even in cases in which they do not result in additional taxation. The provisions deal with disposals of shares in a company (say A) that are held by another company (say B) in circumstances in which B held a significant portion of the equity shares (which the Amendment Act defines as a qualifying interest) in A at any time within the 18 months preceding the disposal. Section 22B applies in situations in which the shares that are the subject of the provision are held as trading Read More …

Deductibility of legal expenses

Author: Gigi Nyanin (Associate at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr). For purposes of determining the taxable income derived by any person from carrying on a trade, s11(c) of the Income Tax Act, No. 58 of 1962 (Act) provides for the deduction of legal expenses which arise in the course of or by reason of a taxpayers ordinary trading operations. More specifically, any legal expenses actually incurred by a taxpayer in respect of any claim, dispute or action at law arising in the course of or by reason of the ordinary operations undertaken by the [taxpayer] in the carrying on of [its] trade will be deductible.

A win against SARS: late delivery of SARSs rule 31 Statement

Author: Mareli Treurnicht (Director at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr). On 17 October 2017 the Tax Court (Western Cape Division: Cape Town) delivered judgment in the matter between S Company v The Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service (SARS) under case number IT0122/2017. The judgment was handed down by Judge Cloete. This judgment is of great interest to any taxpayers currently involved in prolonged disputes with SARS, in particular where there are delays on the part of SARS.

Announcement of further revisions to the debt reduction rules in the Income Tax Act

Author: Jerome Brink (Associate at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr). The current s19 and paragraph 12A of the Eighth Schedule (Eighth Schedule) were introduced into the Income Tax Act, No 58 of 1962 (Act) with effect from years of assessment commencing on or after 1 January 2013. In essence, these provisions contain the debt reduction rules which attempt to create a uniform system that provides relief to persons under financial distress in certain circumstances. In simple terms, the relevant provisions set out the tax implications arising in respect of a debt that is reduced, cancelled, waived, or discharged by a creditor. The tax implications are dependent on what the debt originally funded, for instance trading stock, other deductible expenditure, allowance assets or capital assets.

Assumption of contingent liabilities under the corporate reorganisation rules

Author: Mareli Treurnicht (Director at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr). On 19 July 2017 National Treasury published the Draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, 2017 (Bill) in terms of which it proposes to clarify the tax implications arising when a person assumes contingent liabilities under the corporate reorganisation rules contained in s41 to s47 of the Income Tax Act, No 58 of 1962 (Act) (Corporate Reorganisation Rules).