image_pdfimage_print

Tax Appeal Tribunal ruling: Commissioner Generals discretion must be exercised judiciously

Authors: Celia Becker and Phillip Karugaba. The recent ruling of the Tax Appeals Tribunal (TAT) in the case of Century Bottling Company v Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), has brought the discretion of the Commissioner General of the URA sharply in focus. It is absolutely necessary and indeed important that in the exercise of their functions, public authorities exercise discretion. It is equally important that such discretion is properly exercised taking into account only the relevant considerations and for the proper reasons. The citizen has recourse to court to check the excesses of executive discretion. A public official is therefore not like the cultural leader kamala byona (he who finishes all matters). The formers discretion is very much controlled by law and by the courts.

Deductions available for commission earners

Author: Joon Chong, a Tax Partner a Webber Wentzel. Commission earners could make an argument to SARS that they should be allowed to deduct their normal range of business expenses, even if commission is no longer more than 50% of their total remuneration under the exceptional circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic. Who is a commission earner? Commission earners who earn more than 50% of their total remuneration as commission income are not limited in the type of business expenses they can claim, as long as these are incurred in the production of their income and are not capital or personal in nature.

Tax treatment of losses incurred during lockdown

Authors: Aubrey Mazibuko, Emil Brincker and Louis Botha. There is little doubt that the national lockdown in response to the COVID-19 health crisis has had a negative financial impact on individuals and business alike. In our Tax & Exchange Control Alert of 28 May 2020, we discussed some of the practical day-to-day tax consequences that the lockdown may have on businesses. In this alert we take a look at the effect that the national lockdown may have on expenditure or losses incurred by individuals and businesses. We also the look at the tax consequences that may arise as a result of employers providing their employees with personal protective equipment. To this end we will consider two scenarios.

Estimating the tax effects of the sale of a business in the hands of a seller

Author: Craig Miller from Webber Wentzel. Tax practitioners are often asked to calculate the indicative effects of the prospective sale of a business (assuming no roll-over relief applies) for the seller. Invariably, the tax practitioner will be informed by the private equity or corporate finance practitioner that enterprise value (EV) is the estimated fair value of the operations of the business. However, this may give rise to a misunderstanding. A tax practitioner is likely to be confused by reference to the “business” (a term only appearing three times in the Income Tax Act) and will not always understand how this value is calculated.

The end of NRV for closing stock (or not?)

Author: Joon Chong, a Partner at Webber Wentzel. The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has for the second time in CSARS v Atlas Copco South Africa (Pty) Ltd, confirmed that the net realisable value (NRV) method is not a suitable method to value closing stock for income tax purposes. The SCA referred with approval to its earlier decision of CSARS v Volkswagen South Africa (Pty) Ltd and held that the NRV method is forward looking, taking into account estimated costs which would still need to be incurred before the stock is sold. The Income Tax Act 58 of 1962 (Act), and calculation of taxable income, is backward looking. The reduction from the cost price of the closing stock should only be allowed in two circumstances: (i) when an event that caused the value of the trading stock to diminish occurred in the tax year; and (ii) when the taxpayer knows Read More …

Inbound interest bearing loans section 31 versus section 23M of the Income Tax Act

There can be no objection in principle to the deduction of interest on loans in suitable cases. Loan capital is the life blood of many businesses but the mere frequency of its occurrence does not bring about that this type of expenditure requires different treatment. Whilst these words of Hefer JA in the well-known judgment of Ticktin Timers CC v The Commissioner for Inland Revenue (1999 (4) SA 939 (SCA) at 942I) are still apposite two decades later, there has been increased focus by National Treasury on cross-border financing and how it may lead to tax avoidance, base erosion and profit shifting. As a result of this scrutiny, sections which are intended to have an effect on the deductibility of interest incurred in respect of cross-border loans have been included in the Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962 (the Act). For the current purposes, we have only focused on Read More …

Methods used by taxpayers to write down trading stock to be rewritten?

Author: Jerome Brink. In its simplest form, s22 of the Income Tax Act, 58 of 1962 (Act) is a timing provision which ensures that the cost of trading stock in the hands of a taxpayer matches the income earned in respect of that trading stock sold, or otherwise disposed of. The 2019 Draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill (2019 Draft TLAB) proposes a key amendment to the manner in which taxpayers can write trading stock down at the end of any year of assessment which will have far-reaching implications for many taxpayers.  

SARS issues binding class ruling regarding unbundling transaction

Authors: Tsanga Mukumba and Louis Botha. Section 46 of the Income Tax Act, No 58 of 1962 (Act) provides tax relief where a company (Unbundling Co) wishes to unbundle its shareholding in a subsidiary (Unbundled Co), to the companys own shareholders. The Unbundling Cos shareholders indirect shareholding in the Unbundled Co is converted to a direct shareholding, in proportion to their shareholding in the Unbundling Co.