Section 8F and 8FA of the Income Tax Act are anti-avoidance provisions which seek to re-characterise the taxation of interest on debt instruments issued by a company where either the debt instrument itself or the interest incurred on the debt instrument has certain equity-like features. The objective behind the section is to tax the return on the instrument in accordance with its substance (and according to what the Act deems its true nature) rather than its named form in order to avoid the deliberate manipulation of the nature of the instrument for purposes of seeking more beneficial tax implications. Stated simplistically interest on debt instruments that have equity features are required to be taxed as a return on equity (dividend) and not as interest.
In 2020, as part of National Treasurys endeavour to broaden the tax base, it was proposed that a restriction be imposed in respect of the extent to which an assessed loss carried forward by a company may be set-off against the taxable income of that company in the current year of assessment (YOA). Specifically, it was proposed that the offset of the carried forward assessed loss be restricted to 80% of the taxable income of the company for that YOA, with the effect that the company would be liable to pay tax on at least 20% of its taxable income, regardless of whether the assessed loss carried forward exceeds the taxable income. This proposal was intended to come into effect on 1 January 2021.
South Africas liquor industry has expressed grave concern after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on day increased taxes on alcohol during his 2021 Budget Speech. Announcing an increase in sin taxes, Mboweni said that South Africans must expect to pay more for alcohol and cigarettes with immediate effect. Mboweni said that a 340ml can of beer or cider would cost an extra 14 cents, with a 750ml bottle of wine now costing an extra 26 cents, a 750ml bottle of sparkling wine will now be setting back customers an extra 86 cents, while a bottle of 750 ml spirits, including whisky, gin or vodka has increased by R5.50.
Many taxpayers will be thankful that Finance Minister Tito Mbowenis Budget Speech for the 2021/2 tax year offers real relief for people in most income tax brackets rather than the painful tax increases that many of us expected. Yet, his Budget Speech also sets the stage for what is likely to be a slow and difficult recovery from the pandemic over the next three years. According to the National Treasurys forecasts, the South African economy is expected to rebound by 3.3% this year, following a 7.2% contraction in 2020. As such, we have a long road ahead of us before GDP grows back to its pre-pandemic size. While the Ministers commitment to lowering barriers to entry, raising productivity and lowering the cost of doing business is laudable, his speech had few new ideas about how to do so.
Pensioners and civil society are up in arms over the below inflation increase in grants announced by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni during his Budget speech. The groups see it as an attack on the poor. Mboweni said social grants would be reduced by R5.8 billion in 2021/2022. He said it was expected that the number of social grant beneficiaries would reach 9 million people by 2022/2023. He said pensions and disability grants would increase from R1 860 to R1 890; child support will increase from R445 to R460; 3.4 percent increase, or R15. Julie Smith, a researcher at the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity group, said the small increase was violence against children, mothers and pensioners.
The property industry has been left somewhat disappointed by this afternoons Budget Speech which it had hoped would outline decisive plans to boost employment and stimulate economic growth. Both these issues hold powerful, although indirect, repercussions for the industry, and although some parts of the plans have been commended by property experts, others fall short.
Overall, I think the minister had a very tough task to start with in trying to increase tax revenue and reduce costs. I think he has probably done the best he can with limited scope to move. The lack of tax increases is positive for the man in the street and for small businesses but at the same time, I do understand that they must spend money on things like Covid-19. It is great that they are not raising additional taxes to pay for this, but I do wonder what it means for our increased debt burden to finance this. Lowering the tax rate (for corporates) is great news, as it increases our competitiveness and puts us on a more even footing with our international competitors.
PRETORIA – FINANCE Minister Tito Mboweni said yesterday that the government would record its largest tax shortfall on record, collecting R1.21 trillion in taxes during 2020/21, or R213 billion less than the 2020 projections. Mboweni said the 2021/22 revenue collection estimate was R1.37trln, provided the underlying assumptions on the performance of the economy and the tax base held. He said the R40bn in previously proposed tax measures would be withdrawn to protect the ailing economy. We have chosen not to introduce the tax measures initially proposed in the October Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, Mboweni said.
Author: Siphelele Dludla. JOHANNESBURG – STOCKS rose the highest this year yesterday as the JSE benchmark index breached the 67 000 points mark again buoyed by mining and resources stocks following a better-than-expected national budget. The JSE All Share Index advanced 1.94 percent to around 67 483 points after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s Budget speech generated positive sentiment and lifted the markets. The mining index rose 5.47 percent to 66 960 points and resources gained 5.54 percent to 70 371 points, while banks lifted slightly and general retailers stocks were in the red.
The 2021 budget speech, which was delivered by the Minister of Finance on 24 February, hit the right notes in preferring economic growth over raising taxes as a means to increase tax revenue. This continued a consistent theme from previous budget speeches which acknowledged South Africas relatively high tax rates, and the inverse relationship between higher rates and increased tax revenues. Arguably, the budget announcements prioritise individuals ahead of businesses, which could lead to a longer road to economic recovery and a more gradual increase in tax collections.