Taxpayers, your turn to file your tax return starts on 1 July this year. The good news is that a significant number of individual taxpayers will be auto-assessed again this year, and this process will start in July. You will be sent an SMS if you are selected to be auto-assessed. When you receive the SMS, log into eFiling or MobiApp to view your assessment. If you agree with the assessment there is nothing more to do.
On 31 March 2022, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy jointly announced a temporary reduction in the general fuel levy of R1.50 per litre from Wednesday 6 April 2022 until 31 May 2022 to provide limited short-term relief to households from rising fuel prices following the Russia/Ukraine conflict. The relief was to be funded by a liquidation of a portion of the strategic crude oil reserves.
The Bounce Back Support Scheme, a loan guarantee mechanism of R15 billion which was first highlighted in the February 2022 budget speech, has come into effect in April 2022. The scheme aims to facilitate job creation and economic growth in the wake of shocks such as the Covid-19 lockdowns, the July 2021 civil unrest in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng, and the ongoing flood disaster.
It is normal practice for the new rates for travel allowances for the ensuing year to be tabled in the Budget speech in February. For some odd reason the last two years SARS has only made this information available post-budget.
The Minister of finance Enoch Godongwana tabled his Budget review on the 23rd February 2022. The following were the key tax issues arising.
The 2022 Draft Revenue Laws Amendment Bill released on 29th July 2022 contains key amendments on retirement reform to move towards a “two-pot” retirement system. The amendments enable South Africans to also save for non-retirement purposes (e.g. emergencies) via their retirement funds, whilst preserving more of their savings for retirement. These amendments aim to encourage members to preserve their retirement savings by making it more flexible to accommodate unforeseen pressures that members face during the span of their working life. It makes it possible for workers not to resign from their employment merely to access their retirement funds and would have assisted members during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, when many employees faced reduced salaries or were not paid at all during that time.
When planning your estate it is important to know the ramifications of any bequests one may make. Below we table issues relating to fixed property
National Treasury and SARS published the 2022 Draft Tax Bills for public comment on the on the 29th July .
There have recently been calls for a wealth tax to fund BIG. While it is readily acknowledged that South Africa is the most unequal society in the world, The implementation of a wealth tax is not that easily achieved. The Davis Tax Committee in its final reports recommended the following:
The global agenda on sustainable development is best expressed through the SDGs, what one can best describe as the ultimate measure of progress which is about prosperity for people and planet. The SDGs, a set of 17 “Global Goals”, 169 targets, and 230 indicators, are a standard for evaluating if progress is being made across the world to reduce poverty, improve quality of life, and realize aspirations of the masses of people towards development.
The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) embraces international best practices and the impact of the use of iXBRL when submitting Annual Financial Statements (AFS) online and in improving efficiencies. iXBRL will make it easier for Companies to report their financial information in an electronic format. CIPC mandated the digital reporting system for all qualifying entities from 1 July 2018.
The South African gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 1,9% in the first quarter of 2022, representing a second consecutive quarter of upward growth. The size of the economy is now at pre-pandemic levels, with real GDP slightly higher than what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. The National State of Disaster was lifted as from 5 April 2022, and the rules on wearing masks indoors and the limitation on public events and gatherings were all repealed on the 23 June 2022.
SARS reminds representative taxpayers of trusts of their duty to register trusts for income tax purposes
The representative taxpayers of trusts are the trustees of a trust, but the responsibility to submit the tax return may be conferred on a specific trustee or a tax practitioner. Currently a trust, whether active or dormant, must submit an income tax return on an annual basis . Representative taxpayers of trusts are reminded of the availability of the Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP) subject to the requirements thereof, should a trust not be registered for income tax purposes. The representative taxpayers of trusts or their representatives are advised to ensure that all outstanding income tax returns are submitted without delay to avoid further penalties and interest.
In spite of the ongoing uncertainty about how trusts will be taxed in South Africa in the future, trusts remain a very useful estate planning tool and are widely used for a number of purposes. However, if a trust is not formed or administered correctly, it can create a nightmare that acts against the very reason for forming it in the first place. Anyone thinking of setting up a trust needs not only to make sure that they are creating a valid legal structure, but also to understand the nature of the trust, the duties of trustees, and the rights of beneficiaries.
The Friedman doctrine is a theory advanced by economist Milton Friedman which holds that the social responsibility of a business is to increase its profits. This approach views shareholders as the economic engine of the organization and the only group to which the firm is socially responsible. decide such matters for them. The Friedman doctrine has been very influential in the corporate world.
South Africa’s Sustainable Finance Initiative, chaired by National Treasury, has launched the country’s first national Green Finance Taxonomy in April 2022. This responds to recommendations from National Treasury’s 2021 Technical Paper: Financing a Sustainable Economy, which calls for the development or adoption of “a taxonomy for green, social and sustainable finance initiatives, consistent with international developments, to build credibility, foster investment, and enable effective monitoring and disclosure of performance.”
A general “force majeure” (or “act of God”) clause is often included in lease agreements, and in most cases, its definition is termed broadly. Such a clause will only apply in circumstances which are beyond the parties’ control, which human foresight could not have anticipated, and which make performance in terms of the contract objectively impossible.
Figure 1: PPI headline index numbers and year-on-year rate of change
Nicholas Crisp, deputy director-general for the NHI, recently briefed Parliament on the NHI Bill following extensive public hearings. He tabled that government proposed to levy surcharges on personal income tax, payroll tax, and reallocating funding for medical scheme tax credits. These are some of the "chief sources of income" for the government's proposed National Health Insurance (NHI).
On the 24th March Lesetja Kganyago, Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, announced an increase in the repurchase rate by 25 basis points to 4.25% per year, with effect from the 25th of March 2022.
The 2020 Budget announced government’s intention to restructure the corporate income tax system by reducing avoidance opportunities and expanding the tax base, while lowering the headline tax rate. South Africa’s interest limitation rules also need to be better aligned with OECD/G20 recommendations on base erosion and profit shifting.
Medium‐term fiscal policy is focused on reducing the budget deficit and stabilising the debt‐to‐GDP ratio. To support this consolidation, government will use a portion of higher‐than‐anticipated tax revenue to narrow the deficit while increasing non‐interest expenditure to support economic growth, job creation and social protection.
Main budget non‐interest spending increases by a net R282.3 billion over the medium‐term expenditure framework (MTEF) period compared to the 2021 Budget. This increase is supported by higher‐than‐anticipated revenue collections and does not jeopardise the path to deficit reduction. Total consolidated government spending will amount to R6.62 trillion over the next three years. Additional allocations of R110.8 billion in 2022/23, R60 billion in 2023/24 and R56.6 billion in 2024/25 are made for several priorities that could not be funded through reprioritisation. These include the special COVID‐19 social relief of distress grant, the continuation of bursaries for students benefiting from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, and the presidential employment initiative. Debt‐service costs will average R333.4 billion per year.
Following a weaker‐than‐expected third quarter, economic growth for 2021 has been revised down to 4.8 per cent, compared with 5.1 per cent estimated at the time of the 2021 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS). The medium‐term growth outlook has improved moderately. Treasury projects real economic growth of 2.1 per cent in 2022, the year in which the economy is expected to return to pre‐pandemic production levels. GDP growth is expected to average 1.8 per cent over the next three years.