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.

Amendment in respect of foreign employment income exemption

Authors: Nandipha Mzizi and Louis Botha (Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr). Alongside the 2017 Medium Term Budget Policy Statements, National Treasury released the revised version of the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill 27 of 2017 (Bill) on 25 October 2017. The Bill contains those proposals that were accepted by National Treasury and which were communicated to Parliaments Standing Committee on Finance, during the report-back hearings.

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.