South African taxes are inherently complex and often involve interpretation, consulting and in exceptional cases, a fair amount of educated guessing on exactly what the legislature intended when the various acts were drafted. However, in order to assist taxpayers through the maze of information, there are some very helpful aids available to taxpayers and tax practitioners. This article provides some of these sources.
l Binding Private Rulings (BPR’s): Although BPR’s only bind SARS and the taxpayer that is a party to the ruling, it often provides some insight into how statues could be interpreted by SARS. Applying for such a ruling is, of course, always an option for taxpayers, although this process should ideally be undertaken in consultation with a tax practitioner. A summary of all rulings that have been issued is available from SARS at:
l Comprehensive Guide to Capital Gains Tax (CGT): The 7th edition of the CGT guide was published on 8 October 2018. The purpose of the guide (consisting of close to a thousand pages!) is to assist the public in gaining a more in-depth understanding of capital gains tax. The guide contains detailed information of all topics related to CGT, with helpful examples and references. The guide is available at:
l VAT 404 Guide for Vendors: The VAT 404 is a basic guide where technical and legal terminology have been avoided wherever possible. It provides several fundamental VAT principles and everyday examples on all VAT-related matters. The most recent version was published on 24 January 2017 and is available at:
l VAT 409 Guide for Fixed Property and Construction: The guide deals with matters concerning the application of the VAT Act in connection with fixed property and construction transactions in South Africa. Since it is a focused guide, it provides some more detailed information compared to the general VAT 404 Guide. The latest version (27 September 2016) is available at:
l External Guide for Provisional Tax 2019: The publication contains generic information to guide provisional taxpayers to correctly complete and submit the IRP6 return and to make the necessary payments on time. With second provisional tax payments for 2019 due at the end of February for individual taxpayers, this guide should come in handy. Available at:
The guides above are only some of the more pertinent guides that are available. Other categories of guides available include:
- customs and excise;
- dividends tax;
- employment tax incentive;
- income tax;
- tax administration; and
- transfer duty.
Self-educating is an important part of being an informed, aware and responsible taxpayer and these resources are available exactly for that reason. Taxpayers should always ensure that they use the most recent versions of guides, especially if there have been any legislative amendments.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or ommissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice.