Author: Ferdie Schneider , BDO National Head of Tax and Tax Partner. The Minister of Finance, Mr Tito Mboweni, delivered his National Budget Speech today. An eloquent touch by the Minister was his placing and contextualising of the Faith of the Country, South Africans, and the Economy, on Scripture and opened with a quote form Zechariah 8 verse 12: For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit; and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their due; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.
Author:Cindy Frantzeskos , BDO Director of Employee Benefits. With the annual treasury budget now done, an interesting thought exercise is to consider: What would the dream budget have looked like? In other words, what fundamental policy changes could we make to structurally improve the prospects of all South Africans. A structural change that might foster a drastic improvement in the lives of South Africans would be to introduce a compulsory retirement fund for all employees.
All may not be lost for impacted employers and employees! Many employers and employees are impacted by the change to the foreign employment exemption. Many hoped for a Government rethink but to no avail. The change, effective 1 March 2020, results in only the first R1 million of a qualifying employees foreign earned remuneration being exempt from South African tax. Despite the obvious concerns, it remains to be seen how much additional revenue will be raised by the change. Arguably the change may do more harm than good.
Ricardo Teixeira, CFP , BDO Chief Operating Officer Wealth Adviser. 20 February 2019. South Africa is faced with a stubborn and dangerously low economic growth rate. Our GDP is currently below 1% and after todays National Budget speech its clear that our GDP is not forecast to exceed 2% for at least the next 3 years. Were in a low growth economic and no matter what levers are pulled, there just seems to be no way out of this pit. Our Minister of Finances approach in this years National Budget was clearly to take a step back and not disrupt the status quo with any fundamental changes to tax policy nor administration. So, what should he be doing to bring back growth to the South African economy?
This was a pragmatic approach to a current fiscal problem and I think the Minister dealt with it in a methodical way, not through Knee jerk tax increases, but rather relying on inflation to increase the tax income, with the rebate sweetener. The literal translation of the French phrase is The more things change; the more things stay the same and this can be said for the often-forgotten tax saving benefits that are available to all of us mere tax paying mortals. Like contributions towards Retirement benefits.
The historically high levels of unemployment among the youth in South Africa has led to the introduction of various tax incentives and benefits aimed at encouraging the employment and training of such persons. Among these is the employment tax incentive (ETI) scheme which was introduced by the Employment Tax Incentive Act, No 26 of 2013 (ETI Act). The ETI is a temporary tax incentive aimed at encouraging employers to employ young employees between the ages of 18 and 29, as well as employees of any age in special economic zones and industries indicated by the Minister of Finance. The benefit for employers is that the ETI enables eligible employers to reduce the amount of employees tax due by them by the ETI amount claimed.
South African tax residents are taxed on their worldwide income, meaning that where such a person works abroad and is remunerated, this is caught in the South African tax net. If such a person works for a South African employer, an employees tax withholding obligation exists for the employer regarding the income that resident earns for services rendered while physically abroad. In the Taxation Laws Amendment Act, No 17 of 2017, amendments to s10(1)(o) will go into effect from 1 March 2020. These amendments limit the exemption available under this section to income up R1 million earned by a South African taxpayer while working abroad.
In 2013, the South African government introduced the domestic treasury management company (DTMC) regime to enable South African companies, which are registered with the Financial Surveillance Department (FSD) of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), to expand into the rest of Africa and abroad. The DTMC regime allows South African companies to establish one subsidiary as a holding company to hold African and offshore operations, without being subject to exchange control restrictions. When the DTMC regime came into effect on 27 February 2013, a DTMC was defined in s1 of the IT Act as a company that:
Below are some of the proposed amendments raised in the Budget regarding retirement income provisions in the IT Act. Exemption relating to annuities from a provident or preservation fund Once a member of a retirement fund retires and receives an annuity as a retirement benefit, any contributions to the retirement fund that did not qualify for a deduction when determining the members taxable income are tax-exempt. This exemption does not apply to annuities received from a provident or provident preservation fund. To encourage annuitisation (regular payments in retirement), it is proposed that this exemption be extended to provident and provident preservation fund members who receive annuities. The exemption would apply for contributions made after 1 March 2016.
The Budget noted a global downward trend in corporate taxation rates. This downward trend may lead to an unintended increase in the imputation of the net income of controlled foreign companies (CFCs) in South African shareholders taxable income. This is despite the fact that at the inception, the CFC may have operated in a jurisdiction with rates of tax which would have met the present threshold contained in paragraph (i) of the proviso to s9D(2A)(l) of the IT Act.