An interview with Gigi Nyanin, Project Director, Tax Publications and Thought leadership, South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), and Dr Ivor Blumenthal, CEO, ArkKonsult, discussing the auto assessments that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) introduced in August 2020 which provided them with the ability to file income tax returns on behalf of taxpayers.
The full bench of the Western Cape High court recently delivered judgment (Cloete J dissenting) in a favour of a taxpayer who, according to the Tax Court, was simply abusing process. When studying the judgment of the Tax Court, it is difficult to see how the taxpayer’s approach was anything more than an abuse of process which begs the question: Why was the taxpayer successful on appeal to the full bench of the High Court?
In the 2021 Budget, there are proposals to halt abuse of employment tax incentives and expand the scope of what constitutes a long-service award. The 2021 Budget Review contained several proposals in relation to individuals, employment tax and associated benefits and incentives.
It has been widely reported that SARS has committed to probing the tax affairs, and information disclosed by High-Net-Worth Individuals (HNWI) on their tax returns, in order to determine their compliance with the respective tax legislation, with the establishment of the High Wealth Individual Taxpayer Segment (HWI).
As the SARS collection process becomes more technologically advanced, tax practitioners must advise clients to avoid tax evasion and remain compliant. SARS will soon become so efficient at detecting tax evasion and recovering hidden revenues, it will no longer be worth it to lie on returns.
Much confusion and debate seems to exist in the market regarding the changes to the access to retirement benefits (pension preservation funds, provident preservation funds and retirement annuity funds) on emigration. The concept of ‘emigration’ and the SARS approval process (via MP336b) falls away from 1 March 2021 and is replaced with the concept of an individual ‘ceasing to be a resident for tax purpose’ in South Africa.
Every Budget is preceded and followed by the mantra that the Finance Minister faced serious challenges. No, that is never true. All Budgets are easy and straight forward. If they promote prosperity, then countries, including governments and the poor, get rich. All that’s needed is for Budgets to raise rather than lower economic freedom scores – more freedom, more prosperity; less freedom, more poverty. It is that simple.
In August 2020, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) introduced auto assessments which provided them with the ability to file income tax returns on behalf of taxpayers. These auto assessments are populated from a taxpayer’s information which is collected from third parties such as financial institutions, employers, and medical aid schemes.
When the minister of finance delivered Budget 2020/21 on 26 February 2020, COVID-19 was mostly contained to China (with other countries registering few cases). The budget therefore made virtually no provision for what was to become one of the largest health and economic meltdowns in the past 90 years. As such, except for the growing fiscal deficit, the main and consolidated budgets contained no earth-shattering announcements.
Taxpayers were listening very closely as Tito Mboweni delivered his annual budget speech. Taxpayers can however breathe a sigh of relief as no increases in tax rates will be incurred despite a year of national lockdown and the roll out of the vaccine.