What are the tax and exchange control implications of Bitcoin?

Author: Robert Gad, Nicolette Smit, Megan McCormack, Jo-Paula Roman(tax Directors at ENSAfrica). With virtual currencies such as Bitcoin becoming ever more popular and accessible, it is important that South African taxpayers carefully consider the tax and exchange control uncertainties that accompany the incorporation of these relatively new systems into businesses and/or investment portfolios. We highlight below some of the tax and exchange control consequences arising from transactions involving Bitcoin. We have not considered the tax and exchange control consequences of the mining of Bitcoin, as this will be considered in a separate article.

Unintended consequences of the new CFC rules

Author: Judith Becker (Tax Associate at ENSAfrica). In the 2017 South African Budget speech, the Minister of Finance raised governments concern that the current Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) rules do not capture foreign companies held by interposed trusts or foundations, and it was announced that countermeasures for the treatment of foreign companies held by trusts or foundations will be considered. Treasury, in an attempt to cover these loopholes, has introduced certain changes into the CFC legislation and a section that might have more disadvantages than Treasury intended.

Transfer pricing and insurance structures in the BEPS Era

Author: Roxanna Nyiri, Director, BDO Tax. Insurance in todays world is no longer limited to a single country and has over the last few decades seen interesting global developments. Reinsurance and cell captive insurance have become an integral part of enterprise risk management. Reinsurance and cell captive insurance not only provide business with tools to manage their risk, limit their cost of insurance, but also to hedge against currency fluctuations. These developments, of course, also have their own unique tax consequences, especially where they span jurisdictional borders. With the advent of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Developments (OECDs) Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiatives, tax authorities across the globe are scrutinising insurance structures from a tax perspective, especially with regard to transfer pricing. This increased scrutiny often leads to the cross border pricing related to intercompany insurance related transactions being challenged.

New double-taxation treaties coming in across Africa

Author: Katrina Mabika is Tax Director: Advisory Services for BDO Zambia. Africas enormous potential as an economic growth hub can be realised by consolidating the regions economic integration and facilitating trade and labour mobility across the continent.   Double taxation treaties are one of the ways to do this, enhancing our continents attractiveness as a trade destination and protecting the interests of African professionals, who often travel across the region for work.

MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL WHO HAS THE FAIREST TAX RATE OF THEM ALL?

Author: Roxanna Nyiri, National Head of Transfer Pricing and International Tax and Director BDO and Jolani Proxenos, International Tax & Transfer Pricing Consultant at BDO.   Developing countries (or capital-importing countries) are making strong efforts to attract foreign investments. South Africa and Mauritius are seen as developing countries and have adopted tax incentive regimes to increase their attractiveness for Multinationals to set-up locally.

SARS rules on the PAYE and VAT implications of non-executive directors remuneration

Author: Beric Croome and Gerhard Badenhorst (Tax Executives at ENSafrica). The South African National Treasury indicated in the 2016 Budget Review that there are differing views as to whether the remuneration paid to a non-executive director (NED) is subject to employees tax, that is, pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) and whether a NED should register for value-added tax (VAT). It was suggested that these issues be investigated to provide clarity. In its final response document on the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, 2016, National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) proposed that SARS address the uncertainties relating to VAT and PAYE in relation to NED remuneration in an interpretation note.

Hybrid debt instruments what you need to know

Author: Michael Reifarth (Tax Executive at ENSafrica). The hybrid debt rules were introduced into the Income Tax Act, 1962 (the Act) and came into effect in 2014 by way of specific anti-avoidance provisions contained in section 8F and 8FA of the Act. The provisions relating to hybrid debt instruments as contained in section 8F of the Act seek to identify and provide for specific tax treatment of certain debt instruments that contain equity-like features. In instances where section 8F applies to a hybrid debt instrument, the legislation disallows the deduction of the amounts of interest incurred by the issuer and furthermore deems such amounts to be dividends in specie declared and paid by the issuer.

The wait is over: This is what the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme will offer

The Minister of Finance announced the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (SVDP) in the 2016 Budget Speech. The legislation governing the SVDP finally came into effect on 19 January 2017 when the Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws Act, No 13 of 2016 (Revenue Laws Act) and the Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws (Administration) Act, No 14 of 2016 (Revenue Laws Administration Act) were published in the Government Gazette.

Amendments to the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme

Author: Mareli Treurnicht. On 24 February 2016 the Minister of Finance announced the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (SVDP) as part of the 2016 Budget Speech. On the same date, the draft Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws Bill (First Draft Revenue Laws Bill) and the draft Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws (Administration) Bill were released. These bills contained the proposed provisions in respect of the SVDP. Following input from the public, National Treasury released the amended draft Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws Bill (Second Draft Revenue Laws Bill) and the amended draft Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws (Administration) Bill (Second Draft Revenue Laws Administration Bill) on 19 July 2016. An Explanatory Memorandum and a media statement on the SVDP accompanied these bills.