Below, please find issue 35 of ENSafrica's tax in brief, a snapshot of the latest tax developments in South Africa.

case law

Supreme Court of Appeal | BMW South Africa (Pty) Ltd v C:SARS

  • whether payments made by the appellant to tax consultancy firms for services rendered to expatriate employees in respect of their South African tax obligations constitute a taxable benefit and consequently form part of the expatriate employees' South African "gross income" – section 1(i) of the Income Tax Act, 1962 (the "Act") read with paragraphs 2(e) or (h) of the Seventh Schedule to the Act;
  • whether a causal link had been shown between the employment contemplated in paragraph 2 of the Seventh Schedule to the Act and the "benefit, advantage or reward allegedly received by expatriate employees by reason of the services of the tax consultancy firms," considered.
  • notwithstanding that the amounts paid to the tax consultancy firms by the appellant were for services rendered to the expatriate employees concerning the latter's obligations to SARS, whether the expatriate employees would have otherwise had to pay for the services personally, determinative.
  • find a copy of the judgment here.

legislation and draft legislation

  • no new legislation / draft legislation noted

advance tax rulings

  • no new legislation / draft legislation noted

SARS publications

  • updated tables of interest rates
    • table 1 – interest rates on outstanding taxes and interest rates payable on certain refunds of tax.
    • table 2 – interest rates payable on credit amounts (overpayment of provisional tax).
  • Taxation in South Africa – 2019
    • general guide providing an overview of the most significant tax legislation administered in South Africa by the Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
    • the information in this guide concerning income tax relates to
      • natural persons, deceased estates, insolvent estates or special trusts for the 2019 year of assessment commencing on 1 March 2018 or ending on 28 February 2019;
      • trusts for the 2019 year of assessment commencing on 1 March 2018 or ending on 28 February 2019; and
      • companies for the 2019 year of assessment with financial years ending during the 12-month period ending on 31 March 2019.
      • find a copy of the guide here.
  • updated tables of average exchange rates
    • table A – a list of the average exchange rates of selected currencies for a year of assessment as from December 2003.
    • table B – a list of the monthly average exchange rates to assist a person whose year of assessment is shorter or longer than 12 months.
  • draft interpretation note 18 (issue 4) - rebates and deduction for foreign taxes on income
    • this note has been updated with amendments in the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Amendment Acts. Attention is drawn to the following main amendments to section 6quat on which readers may wish to comment:
      • section 6quat(1B)(a);
      • section 6quat(1C) and (1D); and
      • section 6quat(4).
    • in addition, owing to the deletion of section 6quin, the content relating to that section was deleted from the note.
    • due date for comments: 15 November 2019.
    • find a copy of the draft interpretation note here
  • Comprehensive Guide to Dividends Tax (issue 3)
    • find a copy of the guide here.

exchange control

  • exchange control circular no. 16/2019
    • amendment to the list of names in the Currency and Exchanges Manual for Authorised Dealers under the heading of FirstRand Bank Limited
    • find a copy of the circular here.

customs and excise

  • Customs and Excise Act, 1964 | draft rule amendment notice and forms
    • draft rule 107A – requirements in respect of tobacco leaf dealers.
      • find a copy of the draft rule amendment here.
      • the insertion of draft rule 107A aims to ensure control of the supply chain in the tobacco industry. The rule provides requirements in respect of tobacco leaf threshers. Tobacco leaf threshers are required to register their factories with the Commissioner and keep records for purposes of inspection by the Commissioner.
      • due date for comments: 27 September 2019
    • related forms
      • form DA 185 (application form: registration / licensing of customs and excise clients).
      • form DA 185.4A17 (registration client type 4A17 – tobacco leaf dealer)
  • Customs and Excise Act, 1964 | draft rule and tariff amendment notices and forms relating to the environmental levy in respect of carbon tax imposed in terms of the Carbon Tax Act, 2019


  • OECD | The pace of tax reforms has slowed across most leading economies and bolder tax reforms will be needed to address future challenges, according to a new OECD report
    • Tax Policy Reforms 2019 describes the latest tax reforms across all OECD countries, as well as in Argentina, Indonesia and South Africa. The report identifies major tax policy trends and highlights that fewer countries have introduced comprehensive tax reform packages in 2019 compared to previous years.
    • find a copy of the report here.
  • OECD | OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS delivers tax transparency: Action 13 Country-by-Country reporting shows big progress
    • the OECD has released the outcomes of the second phase of peer reviews of the BEPS Action 13 Country-by-Country (CbC) reporting initiative, demonstrating strong progress in continuing efforts to improve the taxation of multinational enterprises (MNEs) worldwide.
    • under the Action 13 Minimum Standard, jurisdictions have committed to foster tax transparency by requesting the largest multinational enterprise groups (MNE Groups) to provide the global allocation of their income, taxes and other indicators of the location of economic activity.
    • find a copy of the document here.
  • OECD | Ecuador and Serbia deposit instruments of ratification for the multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters ("Convention").
    • find a list of the jurisdictions participating in the Convention here.
  • OECD | Boosting tax morale – so people and businesses pay tax
    • a new report by the OECD, Tax Morale: What drives People and Businesses to Pay Tax?, assesses the drivers behind voluntary compliance with tax obligations and demonstrates that compliance is determined not solely by tax rates and the threat of penalties, but by a wide range of socio-economic and institutional factors.
    • find the media release here and the report here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.