tax articles

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Who controls the “nuclear option” in the ongoing “SARS Wars”?
Friday, March 18, 2016 10:08:00

The strained relationship between Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and the Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS), Tom Moyane, has been the subject of intense media scrutiny in what has come to be termed the “SARS Wars”. As public concern has grown regarding the effect of the tension on the effectiveness and stability of SARS, there have been persistent calls for President Jacob Zuma to intervene and remove Moyane.
Tax focus in 2016: What does the future hold?
Monday, February 01, 2016 11:15:00

We can expect 2016 to be an interesting year for tax, with a new Finance Minister promising a focus on fiscal consolidation and several key pieces of tax legislation due to be enacted in the coming months.

The volatility of the currency due to events that began in December 2015, has placed an increased focus on government finances. On 14 December 2015, Pravin Gordhan, the current Minister of Finance released a statement saying: “We will stay the course of sound fiscal management. Our expenditure ceiling is sacrosanct. We can have extra expenditure only if we raise extra revenue. We will unreservedly continue our fiscal consolidation process and we will stabilise our debt in the medium term. If needs be, we will accelerate this by either cutting spending or making selective changes to tax policy. Similarly, any revenue raising opportunity will be considered very carefully to ensure that it does not damage growth or affect the poor negatively”.
Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group appoints African tax specialist
Tuesday, January 19, 2016 16:06:00

Leading Pan-African law firm, Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group, has appointed Ulla Murphy to strengthen its Africa-wide tax offering. Murphy joins the firm as a partner in its Johannesburg Tax Practice, moving from Absa where she was the Africa Head of Wealth Investment and Insurance Tax. She specialises in providing advisory tax services, with particular emphasis on the financial services sector.
Security SPVS and Tax Neutrality
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 09:15:00

Despite the bad press that special purpose vehicles (“SPVs”) received during the Enron scandal, SPVs are still an everyday feature of many financial structures. SPVs are commonly used in project finance transactions and in respect of employee incentive schemes, and normally serve a specific business purpose: they are generally created to be independent, bankruptcy remote vehicles and allow the financiers in syndicated loan transactions to share the proceeds of the security provided by the borrower.
Mining rehabilitation funds - what if they are no longer needed?
Thursday, October 16, 2014 12:27:00

Mining companies are obliged to perform environmental rehabilitation of mining sites upon the termination or premature closure, decommissioning and final closure, of mining activities. Section 37A of the Income Tax Act, 62 of 1968 (“the ITA”) serves to align tax policy with environmental regulation and regulates mining rehabilitation funds created with the sole object of applying their property for the environmental rehabilitation of mining areas.
Mutual assistance and co-operation between the South African Revenue Service and foreign tax authorities
Monday, August 11, 2014 12:20:00

Recent international developments have made it increasingly difficult for taxpayers to hide their assets or to avoid tax and South Africa has joined the list of countries that fully comply with international standards on the transparency and exchange of taxpayers’ information. South Africa is a member of the OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (the Global Forum) (chaired by the chief officer of legal and policy at the South African Revenue Service (SARS), Kosie Louw). The Global Forum recently conducted a peer review of 50 jurisdictions, and South Africa is one of only 18 fully compliant countries.
Global Legal Insights - Corporate Tax
Thursday, July 24, 2014 13:11:40

The corporate tax work of the past year has been mixed. There have been a number of corporate restructuring transactions, refinancing of debt push down transactions and a number of transactions involving share repurchases by companies as a means of enabling shareholders to exit companies. We have also seen an increasing number of enquiries by the South African Revenue Service ("SARS") based on the General Anti-Avoidance Rules. As stated above, there have also been a number of transactions involving share repurchases by companies as a means of enabling shareholders to exit companies. The share repurchase became a favoured way of exiting a company, particularly for South African resident company shareholders, where the proceeds of the share repurchase were treated as a dividend for the purposes of the Income Tax Act ("ITA").
The Tax Disputes and Litigation Review
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 09:17:00

With effect from 1 October 2012 the administration provisions of the various tax acts were moved to a new act, called the Tax Administration Act, 2012. The Tax Administration Act basically sets out the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the taxpayer's obligations and entitlements.

The drafting of the Tax Administration Act was announced by the Minister of Finance in the 2005 Budget Review, and eventually promulgated on 4 July 2012. In terms of the law that has created SARS, (i.e., the South African Revenue Service Act) SARS's objectives include the efficient and effective collection of taxes. Tax legislation, such as the Tax Administration Act, seeks to achieve this objective.
South Africa’s VAT changes: The impact on e-commerce
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 10:16:00

The buying and selling of services over the internet has become ubiquitous. This article provides an update on the efforts of the South African Revenue Service ('SARS') and National Treasury ('Treasury') to bring foreign e-commerce suppliers on to a level tax playing field, by requiring them to register under the Value- Added Tax Act 1991 ('the VAT Act').

In South Africa, it is usually the case that an entity selling goods or services will (i) be charged VAT (normally at a standard rate of 14%) on its inputs by its suppliers, (ii) charge VAT on its outputs to its customers, and (iii) will have to register with SARS in order to claim back the tax paid in step (i) and pay over the tax collected in step (ii).
Transfer pricing audits put the squeeze on in Africa
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 10:03:00

The African Tax Administration Forum has identified transfer pricing as a critical issue for African tax administrations and has undertaken several initiatives to improve co-operation between the administrations to police the issue. In SA, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has also significantly increased its focus on transfer pricing and regularly undertakes transfer pricing audits with a very capable transfer pricing team.

SARS applies the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines on Transfer Pricing to determine the appropriate transfer pricing policy for a multinational enterprise operating in SA.
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In association with Bowman Gilfillan Africa GroupMember of Lex MundiMember of Employment Law Alliance