About mines and houses: a ruling on expenditure incurred to implement a housing scheme

In our Alert of 29 April 2016, we discussed the Ruling dealing with the tax consequences of a housing scheme carried out by a mining company, specifically whether such a housing scheme would give rise to a fringe benefit in the hands of the beneficiaries of the scheme (Every house has a story: Does employer-provided accommodation always constitute a fringe benefit?). In this article, we discuss another Ruling dealing with certain tax consequences from the perspective of the mines which implement the housing scheme. On 10 June 2016, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) issued Binding Private Ruling 239 (Ruling) which deals with the income tax consequences resulting from cash contributions to be made by the Applicant (as a party to a mining joint venture) to a special purpose vehicle established to provide housing for the employees of the joint venture and the Applicant’s group of companies.

New ITR14 requires country-by-country reporting in company tax returns

Authors:  Lavina Daya and Scott Salusbury. In October 2015, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”) published its final reports on the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (“BEPS”) project, including the final report on BEPS Action 13, Transfer Pricing and Country-by-Country Reporting (“Action 13 Report”). The Action 13 Report recommended a three-tiered approach to transfer pricing documentation, requiring a global master file and local file to be submitted by multinational enterprises (“MNEs”) to local tax authorities and a country-by-country (“CbC”) report to be submitted by the “ultimate parent entity” of an MNE in the jurisdiction in which it is tax resident. The CbC report will contain information to provide the tax authorities with an overview of the global allocation of income, business activities and taxes paid within the MNE. The tax authorities of various jurisdictions will share CbC reports through automatic exchange of information mechanisms, such as the Multilateral Competent … Continue reading

Tax administration – Prescription

From time to time, our courts are called upon to remind public officials that compliance with the requirements of provisions in legislation is necessary to enable them to enforce the powers entrusted to them. The requirements are in place to enable the public to understand the reasons for the administrative action and to determine whether the action is compliant with the law.

Crowdfunding and tax – two’s company, three’s a crowd

Authors: Michael Reifarth and Yani van der Merwe (ENSafrica). There has been a rapid expansion of the crowdfunding industry during the last couple of years where businesses and entrepreneurs use crowdfunding platforms to promote their business ideas and to obtain funding from the public to finance their ventures. Although there are advantages and disadvantages to a crowdfunding arrangement in comparison to traditional funding arrangements, one constant factor applicable to both alternatives is that the transactions between the recipient and the provider of funding will, at all times, be subject to the provisions of the Income Tax Act, No. 58 of 1962 (the “Act”). In this article, we briefly consider some of the possible South African tax implications that may arise pursuant to the utilisation of the various types of crowdfunding that have lately been gaining traction in South Africa.

In vino veritas: an important case for the wine farming industry

The South African wine industry is internationally renowned for the quality of wine it produces. From a tax perspective, a specific tax dispensation applies to income derived by a person from “pastoral, agricultural or other farming operations” as contemplated in s26(1) of the Income Tax Act, No 58 of 1962 (Act). To the extent that a person’s taxable income is derived from such operations, the First Schedule to the Act will apply. We previously discussed s26(1) and the First Schedule in our Alert of 8 April 2016: The Kluh-ed up taxpayer wins – a decision on s26 of the Income Tax Act.

Tax relief to revive flagging SA shipping industry

Author: David Warneke, Tax Partner, BDO South Africa. From 1 April 2014[1], South African (SA) resident companies engaged in international shipping have enjoyed a far better income tax dispensation than before. If you are involved in this industry, make sure your company is enjoying the benefits described below. Prior to this date, international shipping income derived by such companies was generally subject to SA tax at the rate of 28%, the rate applicable to other types of companies. The only particular incentive for such companies was related to tax depreciation on the cost of their ships. SA had a wholly uncompetitive tax dispensation for such companies, whereas in order to attract such companies, many other jurisdictions have either introduced a ‘tonnage tax’ – tax based on the tonnage of the ship rather than profits of the shipping company – or exempted such income from tax altogether.

Cross Border Interest Paid by a South African Resident: Tax Issues that Arise

Author: Siyasanga Madikazi (Tax Trainee), BDO South Africa. Cross border transactions, as well as growth in international trade between companies within the same group, has increased significantly in recent years. This often results in debts between resident and non-resident companies and numerous complexities from a South African tax perspective. Interest payments by residents to non-residents are generally subject to interest withholding tax (WHT) at 15%. Whether WHT applies depends on whether a Double Tax Agreement (DTA) between South Africa and the country of residence of the recipient exists to give South Africa the rights to tax. It also depends on whether the interest is subject to South African income tax (as opposed to interest WHT) in the hands of the non-resident recipient.

Brief window of opportunity for South Africans named in the Panama Papers

A number of South African individuals, trusts and companies feature in the recent data leak involving clients of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Although the publication of the data by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists does not allege any violation of tax laws or exchange control regulations by those identified in it, the South African Revenue Service (“SARS”) and the South African Reserve Bank (“SARB”) have indicated that they will be investigating the tax and exchange control affairs of these South Africans. As a result, those named in the leak should consider urgent steps to address any potential tax or exchange control transgressions.

Update on the taxation of South African dividends to the Netherlands

Author: Stephan Spamer and Howmera Parak (ENSafrica). In 2014 and 2015, ENSafrica published two articles on the “most favoured nation clause” contained in article 10(10) of the protocol (“2008 Netherlands Protocol”) issued under the Netherlands/South Africa (“SA”) double tax agreement (“Netherlands/SA DTA”). In the 2014 article, ENSafrica highlighted the view that has been expressed in the market that article 10(10) of the 2008 Netherlands Protocol gives rise to a complete exemption from dividends tax in SA

The use of electronic or digital signatures in tax matters

Author: Carmen Gers and Jadyne Devnarain (ENSafrica). With tax litigation becoming more prevalent in recent years, taxpayers are now faced with new issues. One such issue is: when and to what extent will documents bearing an electronic signature be acceptable under the relevant tax legislation?