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.

Buy your copy HERE
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. 

Sunday 4 December 2011

SARS supplementary declaration for companies and close corporations

The Commissioner: South African Revenue Service ("SARS") recently announced that companies and close corporations ("CCs") will, in certain cases, be required to complete and submit a supplementary declaration for companies and CCs, Form IT14SD.

The new form will require companies and CCs to reconcile financial information across various tax types and customs. The IT14SD will require taxpayers to submit reconciliation statements for employees’ tax ("PAYE"), income tax, value-added tax ("VAT") and customs.

Most companies and CCs which are not currently reconciling financial information for the various taxes should proceed to do so, so that they will be in a position to supply the information that will be required by SARS.

It will be important for taxpayers, who are required to submit the Form IT14SD, to reconcile the turnover reflected as per the Annual Financial Statements ("AFS"), to the turnover reflected on the VAT returns. SARS is also seeking a reconciliation of the input tax as per the VAT returns and the expenditure as reflected in the AFS.

SARS will require taxpayers to submit details of salaries as per the AFS and to reconcile that to the figures submitted via the PAYE process.

In addition, information will be required by importers and exporters regarding customs information submitted to SARS and information contained in the AFS.

SARS has indicated that where companies and CCs submit their returns electronically, and that taxpayers who are identified for verification, an initial verification letter will be displayed on the taxpayer’s e-Filing profile and e-Filing will automatically make the Form IT14SD available on the taxpayer’s profile. Those taxpayers who do not submit tax returns electronically, will receive an IT14SD via the mail and will be required to complete the form and submit it to SARS.

SARS has advised taxpayers that the new Form IT14SD can be submitted either through e-Filing, via SARS branches or by post.

It is important that taxpayers who are not currently reconciling the information regarding the various taxes to the information contained in the AFS undertake to do so, with a view to the requirement that such information must, in future, be submitted to SARS.