Taxation & Double Taxation Agreements

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South Africa imposes tax (subject to certain exemptions) on all forms of corporate entities as well as on individuals and trusts. Types of taxes include, among other things: normal tax, withholding tax, donations tax, value-added tax, estate duty, securities transfer tax and transfer duty.

The country's tax laws are contained in various pieces of legislation, which are amended annually. Tax and fiscal policy is set by the Minister of Finance, who presents an annual budget to Parliament. The annual budget sets out revenue trends and tax proposals and provides valuable insights into the tax laws that are likely to be proposed by Government in the future.

The collection of tax is administered by the South African Revenue Service (SARS). SARS issues interpretation notes, practice notes and rulings which may be of assistance in interpreting the complex laws (even though these sources in most instances do not have a legally binding effect).

It is important, when applying South African tax laws, to ascertain whether a taxpayer is a South African resident or non-resident (for tax purposes) as this impacts the extent of the tax levied.

Given the extensive and constantly changing tax laws, it is imperative that local and foreign investors consider the South African tax consequences of investing in the country carefully. When obtaining advice regarding South African tax laws, it is also important to note that no person may provide tax advice to another person or assist a person in completing a tax return without being registered as a tax practitioner with SARS.

“Tax and fiscal policy​ is set by the minister of finance, who presents an annual budget to parliament.”

For a comprehensive document outlining the implications of this area of law in South Africa
click here.​​​

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