Monday, 12 December 2011

Another Review of "Taxpayers' Rights in South Africa"

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The following book review of my book Taxpayers' Rights in South Africa  first  appeared in the ADVOCATE, December 2011 edition.  The review was written by Advocate Andy Bester of the Johannesburg Bar.

Dr Croome's work on taxpayers' rights is the first textbook to consider fiscal legislation critically in the light of the values entrenched in the Constitution 1996.

Given that fiscal legislation is the subject matter of this work, it is a surprisingly easy read. Dr Croome has succeeded in treating substantial taxation issues in a way that makes it digestible to even the non-specialist.

The work commences with a general background and thereafter deals with the three major rights entrenched in the Constitution affected by fiscal legislation: the right to property, the right to equality and the right to privacy. These topics are carefully considered at the hand of a series of questions dealing with pertinent aspects of the real or perceived clash between fiscal legislation and constitutionally entrenched rights.

The author then turns to procedural rights. Not only is a useful comparison made with several other jurisdictions, but administrative justice and access to the courts is dealt with in an extensive yet extremely practical manner.

The work is well rounded off with the final two chapters. A discussion of the protection of taxpayers' rights in selected foreign countries is followed by a discussion of the future of taxpayers' rights in South Africa. In this chapter a critical discussion of current taxpayers' remedies interspersed with suggestions and recommendations by the author, provides food for thought not only for practitioners, but also for those involved in the administration and enforcement of fiscal statutes.

With taxation, perhaps one of the last remaining areas where the impact of constitutional values have not been that extensively tested yet, this work is a timeous and valuable addition to the bookshelves of tax practitioners, tax officials and legal practitioners in general.

The other book by Dr Croome, Tax Administration, this time co-authored by Professor Lynette Olivier, seeks to guide tax practitioners and those dealing with the fiscal authorities through the maze that is the administration of taxation. They succeed admirably.

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Much of the subject matter contained in the book has been covered in other publications. Yet, perhaps because of the structure in which the information is presented, this work contributes substantially to the accessibility and digestibility of this area of law.

The authors deftly guide the reader through such topics as the requirements to register and submit tax returns' assessments, requests for information, access to information, penalties, refunds and more.

The text also includes a chapter on taxpayers' remedies and several annexures which go beyond the usual mere reference to the relevant legislation. Thus for instance, the SARS Service Charter is included, as is the Terms and Conditions of the SARS e-filing website. All in all this text succeeds in guiding readers through what tends to be rather complicated processes.

This review was written by Advocate ANDY BESTER, JOHANNESBURG BAR and first appeared in the ADVOCATE, December 2011 edition. 

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