Did the punishment fit the crime? The Tax Court reduces an understatement penalty imposed by SARS

Author: Louis Botha (Associate at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr). The imposition of understatement penalties in terms of Chapter 16 of the Tax Administration Act, No 28 of 2011 (TA Act) and the factors to consider when imposing such a penalty: An issue that our courts have not dealt with much. In this regard, the judgment of the Tax Court in XYZ CC v The Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service (Case No. 14055) (as yet unreported), handed down on 20 November 2017, sets out some helpful principles.

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.

Taxation of Income from two sources

What to do if you receive income from two sources? Taxpayers who receive income from more than one source of employment or pension are reminded that the employees tax (PAYE) deducted by the respective employers or pension funds may not be enough to cover their final tax liability on assessment. The reason for this is the manner in which a taxpayers tax liability is calculated on assessment. The South African tax system is based on the principle of adding together all sources of income of a taxpayer into a single sum, and applying a progressive tax rate table to determine the final tax liability of the taxpayer on assessment. A progressive tax rate system means that the more income is earned, the higher is the marginal tax rate and more tax is paid on assessment.

SARS – ​Medical Deductions Changes

Note: If the information pre-populated on your ITR12 does not match the information reflected on your medical scheme tax certificate(s) which you received from your medical scheme, please click on the Refresh Medical Data button to ensure that data from your latest medical scheme tax certificate(s) is populated onto your ITR12 return. We have introduced a few medical deduction changes to the ITR12 tax return from the 2017 year of assessment onwards. Below is a brief summary on how to complete your medical expenditure on your return:

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 Read More …

Tax Administration – Correction of errors in assessments

The Tax Administration Laws Amendment Act of 2015, which was promulgated on 8 January 2016, amended section 93(1)(d) of the TAA and  in future SARS will not be permitted to entertain so-called ‘requests for correction’ of tax assessments, except if SARS is satisfied that there is a (currently undefined) ‘readily apparent’ undisputed error in the assessment. It is likely that taxpayers will be severely discriminated against by this amendment. What is ‘readily apparent’ to one person may not be so to another. The number of cases in which SARS is likely to grant requests for corrections is likely to drop dramatically and a lack of consistency in interpretation between SARS’ assessors may be taken as a given.

An uncompromising stance – the dispute between SARS and Julius Malema continues

The High Court (Gauteng Division, Pretoria) recently handed down judgment in the case of Malema v Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service (76306/2015) [2016] ZAGPPHC 263 (29 April 2016).  The issue before the court was whether the South African Revenue Service (SARS) was bound to a compromise agreement entered into between the Malema (Applicant) and SARS as a result of alleged non-disclosures and misstatements made by the Applicant, who expressly warranted the truth of the facts furnished by him. The compromise agreement was concluded in accordance with the provisions of s205 of the Tax Administration Act, No 28 of 2011 (TAA).

SARS Tax Clearance Certificate – be cleared online

Author: Sduduzo Mhlongo (ENSAfrica candidate attorney). The South African Revenue Service (“SARS”) has introduced a new Tax Compliance Status System (“TCS”)  from 18 April 2016 in an effort to improve compliance and to make it easier for taxpayers to manage their tax affairs. The Tax Compliance Status System is a holistic view of the tax compliance level across all registered tax types. The new system makes it stress-free for taxpayers to obtain a Tax Clearance Certificate (“TCC”) and allows taxpayers to obtain a Tax Compliance Status PIN which can be used by authorised third parties to verify the taxpayer’s compliance status online via SARS eFiling. There are 2 steps in the process of obtaining a TCS: