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High Court Orders SARS To Play Nice – VZ Nondabula v CSARS & Another

Beyond doubt, the 2018 budget was a controversial swan song for Mr Gigaba.  The tax proposals he introduced will be hotly debated by politicians and experts of all sorts; and deeply experienced by every consumer.

On a completely different level, his admission that tax administration and governance at SARS are causes for concern, is most certainly welcomed.

“Tax morality is a crucial component of a healthy democracy.

It has taken many years and lots of effort to build the foundation of trust that supports our tax morality.

We have seen how quickly that citizens’ trust can be eroded by perceptions of poor public governance.”

The reputation of the collector of revenues was seriously damaged by the scathing reports issued by the Tax Ombud in 2017.  Unfortunately, the Ombud has no real teeth when it comes to dissuading SARS from its bull in a china shop approach to tax administration and it is up to the lonely brave to challenge the mighty SARS in court.

Enter Mr Nondabula, the sole proprietor of a service station and main actor in the drama unfolding before the High Court in Mthatha last year (VZ Nondabula v The Commissioner: SARS & Another, High Court of South Africa, Eastern Cape Local Division, Case No. 4062/2016).  As the owner of a business, Mr Nondabula tried to comply with tax laws and at first this approach seemed to work well.  As Acting Judge Jolwana explains:

“Up to this point the relationship between the applicant and the first respondent appears to have been cordial with assessments being issued and the assessed taxed debt being paid on time.”

However, in 2016 things started going pear-shaped for poor Mr Nondabula.  The chronological sequence of relevant events is as follows:

  1. SARS issued an original assessment for the 2014 tax year resulting in a tax liability of R17 807.84 to be paid on or before 31 July 2014. This amount was duly paid.
  2. SARS issued an original assessment for the 2015 tax year resulting in a liability of R15 768.69. This amount was also paid before the due date.
  3. Then, on 1 March 2016, SARS apparently issued an additional assessment for the 2014 tax year. Why “apparently”?  Well, because on 4 April 2016 SARS issued a statement of account reflecting a tax liability of R1 404 517.97 for the 2014 tax year.  However, the court found that “Notably no ITA34 was issued to the taxpayer reflecting the additional assessment”.
  4. Notice of assessment or not, Mr Nondabula’s accountants submitted an objection to the additional assessment on 4 April 2016. It appears that this objection was treated as invalid by SARS.  Undeterred, the accountants persisted in submitting objections and correspondence to convince SARS to reconsider the assessment and treat the objection as valid.  To no avail.
  5. Meanwhile, SARS had already issued a final demand for payment of the amount of R1 424 690.79 on 11 May 2016. Another letter demanding payment within 10 days was issued at the end of September 2016.
  6. Finally, SARS decided it had had enough and, by the power vested in terms of section 179 of the Tax Administration Act, it issued a notice to the Second Respondent requiring the person (the “Third Party” holding money for or owing money to a taxpayer) to pay the money to SARS in satisfaction of the taxpayer’s debt.
  7. It was now clear that previously “cordial” relationship had broken down and Mr Nondabula approached the court for an order interdicting SARS from invoking section 179 and compel it to withdraw the Third Party Notice.

Given the facts of the matter, the Counsel for the Respondent were in an unenviable position before the court.  The judgment includes a rather technical discussion of the provisions empowering SARS to issue not only a mere additional assessment, but an estimated assessment to boot.  However, the correctness of the assessment is not what is at stake, nor whether SARS acted correctly by issuing an estimated assessment in terms of section 95.

The crux of the matter is that SARS neglected to issue a notice of assessment.  Section 96 of the Act provides that SARS must issue a notice of assessment to the taxpayer.  By choosing not to issue a notice of assessment (ITA34), SARS failed to comply with the peremptory provisions of section 96 of the Act.  Furthermore, in the case of an assessment issued under section 95, SARS must give the person assessed a statement of the grounds of assessment.  This, SARS most definitely did not do.

As far as the learned judge’s view on this oops is concerned, direct quotations will do him more justice than paraphrases:

  • The first respondent is a creature of statute and as such it must operate within the four corners of the statutory provisions which empower it…It therefore cannot do anything not specifically provided for in the Act…nor can it conduct itself contrary to the provisions of the Act.
  • I may mention that the whole of section 96 is couched in peremptory terms, meaning that the first respondent has no discretion when it comes to section 96.
  • Having failed to comply with section 96 the first respondent jumped to the provisions of section 179(1) and issued the impugned Third Party Notice and thus effectively closing down applicant’s business. This was not only unlawful but a complete disregard of the doctrine of legality which is a requirement of the rule of law in a constitutional democracy.
  • There is no doubt that the first respondent dealt with the applicant in an arbitrary manner…
  • The least that is expected of the first respondent is to comply with its own legislation and most importantly promote the values of our Constitution in the exercise of its public power. This the first respondent failed to do.  In failing to provide the applicant with all the information prescribed in terms of section 96 which the first respondent was obliged to provide the applicant, it acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally.

As if this reprimand is not enough, SARS is also ordered to pay the costs of the application.  Hopefully the irony of this order as to costs is not lost on the reader.

Collecting tax is not an easy job and the enabling legislation has been drafted very much in favour of the collector.  In a constitutional state, the least we can expect is for SARS to do what it must do in the way that it should; no more, no less.

Back to the Budget Speech.  Gigaba may have been on his way out, but his remarks have very much the sound of a new broom:

“At the SONA, the President has announced his intention to establish a commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance at SARS.

This year, government will respond to the Davis Tax Commission’s report on tax administration and introduce draft legislation to give effect to some of its recommendations, including those on the accountability of SARS to the Minister of Finance, and the establishment of a supervisory board, as well as measures to strengthen the Office of the Ombud.”

One can only hope.

Annalize Duvenage

Specialist Tax Consultant

 

 

 

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Evidence is Key: SARS’ Questions

My parents always told me that you’re never too old to learn, and also to learn from other’s mistakes.

In this case it’s not a mistake, but we can learn from questions SARS asks other taxpayers.  This way you can make sure that you have the right evidence to provide to SARS if and when they require it.  Remember, the onus rests on the taxpayer to provide the necessary evidence to SARS to substantiate the deduction of expenses incurred in the production of income.

I want to share some new / updated questions we have received from SARS, mostly for the 2017 tax year, so that you can ensure you have the correct and proper evidence and supporting documents for the 2018 tax year.

  • We all know that to claim travelling expenses, you need a detailed logbook. Lately SARS has been asking for proof of purchase of the vehicle.  So, make sure that the date and purchase price of the vehicle provided on the IT12 Income Tax Return corresponds with you supporting documentation.
  • A detailed logbook with a breakdown of actual expenses in respect of each motor vehicle must be provided. The fixed cost method cannot be used if no allowance was received. In the past, we used to compare the deduction using actual expenses with the fixed cost method. Many taxpayers chose to go with the fixed cost method as it usually gave a more favourable result.  I think SARS noticed this, and as the saying goes:  All good thing must come to an end.

SARS issued the following query to an individual trading in his own name, but the same information can be required from any taxpayer, whether a company, trust or close corporation.

  • Provide a detailed description of the business with a detailed explanation how each and every expense was incurred in the production of the income. The taxpayer was required to provide a motivation for the following list of expenses:
    • Advertising
    • Accountancy Fees
    • Bank Charges
    • Cleaning
    • Computer Expenses
    • Commission Paid
    • Consultation Fee
    • Depreciation
    • Electricity and Water
    • General Expenses
    • Insurance
    • Maintenance – Buildings
    • Printing, Stationery, Postage and Courier
    • Rates and Taxes
    • Salaries and Wages
    • Security
    • Small Tools
    • Telephone
    • Travelling

You need to rethink your expenses claimed; why or how is this expense incurred in the production of income, and should there perhaps be an apportionment for private use?

  • What possibility exists to increase gross business income?
  • Furnish the business plans and any changes thereto to ensure that the business will in future derive taxable income.
  • With regard to entertainment expenses, the taxpayer was required to provide a detailed list of the person/s entertained, the venue, date and cost of every event. I don’t think many taxpayers keep a list of the clients they entertain. Also, remember that till slips tend to fade over time – so please make a copy of the slip to make sure the information is still legible after a couple of years. If I were a SARS employee and presented with a slip that is so faded that I can’t read it, I would disallow the expense.  It’s a good thing I’m not working for SARS!
  • Please provide the name and identity number to whom the salary income was paid. If you are an employer you need to deduct PAYE (Pay as You Earn) from the salary/wages paid to employees, as well as UIF contributions, if applicable.  SARS could ask a taxpayer to provide the PAYE reference number to them and this could lead to a whole new set of problems if everything is not in place.

Remember that the taxpayer bears the onus of proving that an expense was incurred in the production of income.  The golden rule is:  If you want to claim it, you need to prove it.  So make sure that your supporting documents are complete and correct.

Petro van Deventer

Senior Manager

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Provisional Tax Payments – It’s that time of year again

 

Poor taxpayer.  With the hangover of holiday overspending fresh in his memory, back-to-school expenses still haunting him and all the while dreading Day Zero, the last thing he needs is another hole in his pocket.  But the country’s wallet needs to be padded and come 28 February all provisional taxpayers (except companies with a financial year ending on another date) are expected to make the second payment of provisional tax for the 2018 year of assessment.

Going back to basics, provisional tax is an advance payment of a taxpayer’s liability for normal tax.  The first payment is due six months after the start of the tax year and the second on the last day of the year.  It is possible to make a third or “top-up” payment within six or seven months after the end of the tax year (depending on the type of taxpayer) but, as will be explained later, a third payment does not safeguard a taxpayer from the imposition of penalties.

Who carries the honorary title of provisional taxpayer?  Firstly, every taxpayer who has been issued with an IRP6 provisional tax return.  Secondly, even if no return has been issued, the Income Tax Act includes the following in the definition of “provisional taxpayer”:

  • Any person (other than a company) who derives income that does not constitute remuneration, an allowance or advance (for example travel and subsistence allowances). In this context, “income” is not restricted to income from a trade, but would also include investment income like interest;
  • Any company; and
  • Any person who is notified by SARS that he is a provisional taxpayer.

What is required of a provisional taxpayer?  To supply SARS with an estimate of his taxable income for the 2018 tax year, and to make a payment of the tax calculated on this estimated income on or before 28 February 2018.  The provisional tax will eventually be set-off against the taxpayer’s “real” liability for income tax once his assessment for 2018 is issued (by the end of January 2019 at the latest).  If a taxpayer earns employment income in addition to his other income, any employees’ tax withheld must be deducted to calculate his liability for provisional tax.  End of February being the second provisional tax period, the amount of the first provisional payment made at the end of August 2017, must also be taken into account.

There are a number of reasons for a taxpayer to put as much effort as possible into estimating his taxable income.  A spot-on estimate means that he will have to pay either very little or nothing when his assessment is issued.  It also means that he will not be liable for a penalty on the underestimation of his taxable income for purposes of provisional tax.

Of course, any person would be less than enthusiastic to make a payment now in respect of a debt that, strictly speaking, only becomes due almost a year onwards.  The temptation is great to skim a little off the provisional payment or to make the payment a bit later when cash flow is better.  Not a good idea.  Since time immemorial Treasury has favoured the stick over the carrot, and the “incentives” to encourage taxpayers to make full, timeous and accurate provisional tax payments are no exception.

Penalty for underpayment of provisional tax as a result of underestimation

SARS expects the estimated taxable income on which the provisional tax is paid, to be as close as possible to the actual taxable income for the year.

This exercise is a bit easier for taxpayers who earn less.  While all taxpayers are expected to make a serious calculation of their estimated taxable income, those with an income of R1 million or less can afford to be a little less accurate because they have a safety net in the form of the magical “basic amount”.  For these taxpayers, the threat of a penalty only becomes a reality when their estimated taxable income is less than 90 percent of their actual taxable income and less than their basic amount.  In other words, even if the estimate is off by a long shot there can be no penalty as long as the estimated taxable income is not less than the basic amount.  That being said, certain other unpleasant consequences may arise where a taxpayer merely relies on the basic amount without seriously considering his actual income for the year in question.

“Basic amount” is broadly defined as the taxable income for the latest preceding year of assessment.  Technically this means the latest assessment issued not less than 14 days before the date on which the estimate (IRP6) is submitted.  If an estimate is made more than 18 months after the assessment for the latest preceding year of assessment was issued, the basic amount will be increased by 8 percent per year.  For example, a taxpayer has fallen a bit behind in submitting his income tax returns.  His 2015 return was submitted and assessed on 1 April 2016.  His taxable income for 2015 will be increased by 8 percent to reach 2016, and again by 8 percent to reach 2017 for purposes of calculating his basic amount.  Had he been up to date with his returns, the taxable income for 2017 would simply have been used as his basic amount.

A taxpayer whose taxable income exceeds R1 million has no basic amount to rely on.  To make up for the fact that taxpayers in this class have no fall-back position, SARS will not impose a penalty unless the estimate is less than 80 percent of the actual taxable income.  A special note of caution is required for taxpayers hovering near the R1 million mark.  Rather do a serious (read as accurate as possible) calculation than rely on the basic amount.  SARS is not concerned with whether the taxpayer reasonably expected his taxable income to exceed R1 million.  Once the taxpayer has crossed the threshold, the basic amount becomes obsolete.

In the case of taxpayers with a taxable income of R1 million or less, the penalty is calculated as 20 percent of the difference between:

  1. The lesser of normal tax (after rebates) payable in respect of 90 percent of the actual taxable income for the year, and the tax payable on the basic amount; and
  2. The amount of provisional tax paid and employees’ tax withheld in respect of the taxpayer.

For example:  Peter has an actual taxable income of R500 000.  He submitted an IRP6 return with an estimated taxable income of R420 000.  His basic amount (previous year’s taxable income) is R400 000.  Although the provisional tax paid is less than 90 percent of R500 000, it is still more than his basic amount and therefore he will not be liable for the penalty.  However, if he had estimated his taxable income at only R350 000, the outcome would be very different.  Assume an effective tax rate of 25 percent.  His basic amount will be used, as it is less than 90 percent of his actual income.  Tax on R400 000 is R100 000, while he only paid provisional tax of R87 500 (calculated on the R350 000).  He will be liable for a penalty of 20 percent of the difference between the tax on the basic amount (R100 000) and the provisional tax paid (R87 500).  So, Peter will have to pay an underestimation penalty of R2 500.

Taxpayers with a taxable income of more than R1 million do not have the luxury of relying on the basic amount, but they are given a bit more leeway in calculating their estimated taxable income.  As long as the estimate is not less than 80 percent of the actual taxable income, the taxpayer will not be liable for a penalty.  If the estimate does not reach the 80 percent mark, the penalty will simply be calculated at 20 percent of the difference between the normal tax payable on 80 percent of actual taxable income and the amount of provisional tax and employees’ tax paid at the end of the year of assessment.

All is not lost for the taxpayer who has incurred a penalty.  The Commissioner has the discretion to remit the penalty or part thereof.  However, the taxpayer will need to satisfy SARS that the estimated taxable income was “seriously calculated with due regard to the factors having a bearing thereon and was not deliberately or negligently understated”.  In practice, this is easier said than done.  SARS’ view is explained as follows in their Interpretation Note 1 – Provisional Tax Estimates:

A taxpayer must therefore have sensibly (and by careful reasoning and judgment, in a mathematical manner, and using experience, common sense and all available information) determined the amount of the estimate before the Commissioner is able to reduce a penalty.

Although the Commissioner’s decision not to remit the penalty is subject to objection and appeal, it ends up being a costly and frustrating exercise for the taxpayer involved.  It is in the best interest of all taxpayers to calculate their estimated taxable income as accurately as possible to prevent the imposition of the penalty in the first instance.

It must be emphasised that a third (top-up) provisional payment made at the end of September will not absolve a taxpayer from liability for the penalty at all.  On the contrary, the fact that he settled his liability for provisional tax by making a third payment may even be viewed as an aggravating factor when SARS considers a request for remission.  Should a taxpayer realise that he underestimated his taxable income, it may be advisable to submit an amended IRP6 return in order to avoid the imposition of the penalty.  However, as explained below, a payment after the due date will render the taxpayer liable for penalties of another kind.

Penalty for the late payment of provisional tax

A penalty of 10 percent is imposed on the late payment of provisional tax.  The penalty is also imposed if a taxpayer submits an IRP6 return without making payment.

To use Peter as example again:  He is liable for a provisional tax payment of R100 000 on his estimated taxable income of R400 000.  Should he make this payment on the 1st of March, instead of 28 February, he will be liable for a penalty of R10 000.

A taxpayer waiting until the last minute to make his provisional tax payment is tempting fate.  Bear in mind that even if a payment instruction is authorised on or before the due date, the processing of the payment may take up to two days.

SARS may remit the penalty if there are reasonable grounds for the late payment, the payment has in fact been made and it is either a first incidence of non-compliance, or if the penalty is less than R2 000.  In all other cases the taxpayer will have to prove “exceptional circumstances”, and when SARS says “exceptional” they really mean it.  The Interpretation Note includes the following examples of circumstances under which SARS is willing to remit the penalty:  natural or human-made disaster, civil unrest, serious illness or accident.

Failure to submit the IRP6 return

A taxpayer who does not submit his provisional tax return or who submits it after the due date, is deemed to have submitted a nil return.  This will naturally trigger a penalty for underpayment of provisional tax as a result of underestimation – with devastating consequences for the taxpayer.

Should our Peter neglect to submit his return, his penalty will simply be calculated as 20 percent of the difference between the tax calculated on his basic amount (R100 000) and nil.  He will therefore have to pay an amount of R20 000 in addition to his liability for normal tax.

Interest on late payment of provisional tax

In addition to the penalty for late payment, a taxpayer is also liable for interest at the prescribed rate (currently 10.25%).

Interest on underpayment of provisional tax

But wait, there’s more.  Assume that poor Peter used his basic amount to calculate his liability for provisional tax.  By doing so, he escaped the penalty for underpayment due to underestimation.  He also ensured that the payment was processed by SARS before the due date of 28 February, so he is not liable for penalties or interest on late payment either.  However, the provisional tax that he paid still falls short of his ultimate liability for income tax by R5 000.  SARS will have none of this.

Peter now becomes liable for interest on the underpayment of provisional tax.  No more estimates or basic amounts, interest is simply charged on the difference between the tax payable as per his assessment and the provisional tax paid by him.  The interest is calculated from the day after the due date for a third provisional payment; in Peter’s case from the 1st of October, to the date of the assessment.  If in addition he chose to submit his income tax return as late as possible, he will be liable for four months’ interest on the underpayment of R5 000.

It is in these circumstances that a taxpayer can make use of the third provisional payment to top up whatever was paid at the end of February in order to come as close to his ultimate tax liability as possible and avoid the incurral of interest.

When too much is not good enough

In 2017, the Tax Ombud’s 80 page report on SARS’ dirty tricks when it comes to the delayed payment of refunds made it clear that it does not really pay to make an overpayment of provisional tax.  A taxpayer may have to wait for months for a refund, all the while suffering the frustration of submitting the one supporting document after the other to satisfy SARS that his tax return was an honest declaration of income and expenses.

In addition, another scare tactic by SARS has reared its ugly head.  Some taxpayers eligible for a refund have received letters requiring them to motivate why they paid too much provisional tax.  Failure by the taxpayer to convince SARS that he was just being cautious, results in the issuing of an additional assessment to increase actual taxable income to match the (over-estimated) provisional payment.

SARS’ reasoning is very simple:  If the estimate is too low, the taxpayer’s provisional tax calculation is wrong.  If the estimate is too high, the provisional tax calculation is accurate and the actual income understated.

The lesson

Taxpayers cannot underestimate (pun intended) the importance of seriously calculating their estimated taxable income at the end of a tax year and making the necessary payment on time.  The price for failing to do so is simply too high.

In the same breath, aiming too high can create its own set of problems.  Especially for taxpayers who expect their taxable income to increase R1 million, the advice is to ensure that the relevant records and information used for the estimate as up to date and accurate as possible and to keep punching those calculators.

Annalize Duvenage

Specialist Tax Consultant

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Uknow Editorial – February 2018

Happy 2018! May this year be prosperous for you, your family and your business. This is certainly going to be an exciting year, with many challenges facing the country and its people, such as the drought here in the Western Cape, the fallout of financial scandals, investigations into corruption, etc. However, we are also hopeful for many changes that will benefit the people – may this year be a turning point for our country and businesses alike.

Two significant B-BBEE charters came into effect at the end of last year: the Amended Agri-BEE Sector Code and the Amended Construction Sector Code. Clients operating in these sectors would be wise to ascertain their business risk with regards to B-BBEE requirements and how these amended Codes will affect their status, as some significant changes have been made from the original Codes. Please contact us for a consultation should you need more information on how this will affect you.

The CIPC has issued Notice 48B-AR, announcing the final deregistration of all companies and close corporation that have defaulted on their annual return submissions and payments. Clients are urged to ascertain the compliance status of their companies in order to avoid having to restore the company or close corporation at very high cost and administration.

The Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, will present the National Budget to Parliament on Wednesday, 21 February 2018. We will present an overview of the Budget and the practical implications of this on your business in our March newsletter.

For most taxpayers 28 February is the end of the tax year, and with this deadline there are many things to consider and attend to. One of the most significant of these is provisional tax, as the incorrect calculation or late payment may have severe consequences in harsh penalties. We include our annual article in this regard below.

As always, if you want to respond to or comment on any of our news items or other relevant information, please contact us at news@unikone.co.za or 022 – 482 1169.

Warm regards until next month.

Oddette Boshoff

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UKnow Editorial – November 2017

International commerce has become an everyday reality. Buying from or selling to a person in another country, especially online, is almost as common as walking to the local supermarket and buying bread. Many of you have downloaded a book on your e-book reader or have bought something on Amazon to have it delivered to your doorstep. I have written many times on this subject as I am quite passionate about this global village that we live in and the adjustments that we as participants in the business world (more so as accountants and tax practitioners) have to make to stay relevant. Our firm is very excited about and proud of the investments we are making in our IT structures in this regard: we are adding comprehensive cloud accounting solutions to our current service offering and driving innovative service delivery to our clients by using these platforms. This has the benefit that clients can access their business data wherever they are in the world at any time, as long as they have access to the internet. It also makes cross-border commerce easier to deal with. We will liaise directly with clients, but please contact us should you have any interest or queries.

Resulting from this is of course a myriad of tax and accounting issues that have to be considered and addressed. We include a comprehensive article this month on VAT export issues relating to online commerce which we hope will provide some clarity. However it is clear that revenue authorities will also have to adapt in this regard.

On the B-BBEE front the following was decided and reported via the Government Communication and Information System at the Cabinet meeting of 1 November 2017, regarding certain B-BBEE Sector Codes:

“Cabinet supported the proposed amendments of the three B-BBEE Sector Codes. The amendments address sector challenges and peculiarities on transformation that would otherwise not be addressed fully by the generic codes. The three sectors are in Agriculture, Finance and Construction.  The proposed amendments have been canvassed with the relevant stakeholders. All the amended sector codes will be gazetted.”

This clears the way for the sector code for Agriculture, Finance and Construction to be gazetted, which will probably have the implication that these codes will be effective immediately. We will keep you updated of any further developments and liaise with our affected clients.

We hope that you find our newsletters interesting and informative. As always, if you want to respond to or comment on any of our news items or other relevant information, please contact us at news@unikone.co.za or 022 – 482 1169, or join the conversation on our social media platforms on Linkedin and Facebook.

Warm regards until next month.

Oddette Boshoff

 

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Vat Exports and the Zero Rate

 

“La donna è mobile”, decides Verdi in his opera Rigoletto.  Our currency is just as fickle, with downward mobility seeming to be the trend.  Only for the select few who make a living out of exporting goods, does the plummeting rand mean good business.  Export these goods at a zero rate, and things are really looking up.

The South African Revenue Service has one primary purpose; to collect the taxes due in terms of the provisions of the various tax Acts.  Of these taxes, Value Added Tax (VAT) is arguably the one tax that affects everyone across the board, with VAT being payable on most consumer goods and a large number of services.  A registered vendor making a taxable supply, is responsible for levying, collecting and paying the VAT to SARS.  In principle, VAT is levied at the standard rate (14%) on all goods and services supplied by a vendor.

As far as income tax is concerned, we have a residence base of taxation.  In other words, a South African resident needs to declare all his income, irrespective of source, in his tax return.  VAT, however, is destination based and aimed at only taxing the consumption of goods and services in the Republic.  Therefore, where the goods supplied (in terms of a sale or an instalment credit agreement) are exported, the supply will be taxed at a rate of zero per cent.

In ordinary terms, “exported” may be defined as sending goods produced or manufactured in one country to be sold in another country.  The definition of exported in section 1(1)(a) of the VAT Act is a bit more comprehensive:

“exported” in reference to any movable goods supplied by any vendor under a sale or an instalment credit agreement, means –

Consigned or delivered by the vendor to the recipient at an address in an export country as evidenced by documentary proof acceptable to the Commissioner.

From the definition it is clear that the simple sale by a vendor of goods to a buyer in another country will not suffice.  The requirement relating to documentation is built into the definition, and failure to obtain and keep the required documentation will result in the supply being taxed at the standard rate.

“Supply”, as defined in the Act, includes performance in terms of a sale, rental agreement, instalment credit agreement and all other forms of supply, whether voluntary, compulsory or by operation of law, irrespective of where the supply is effected.  In the context of exports, “supply” is limited to goods sold; either outright, or in terms of an instalment credit agreement.  Other manners of supply referred to in the general definition will not be treated as exports.

A “recipient” is simply the person to whom the supply is made.  There is no definition of “delivered” in the Act, and the word should carry the ordinary meaning of passing possession of the goods to the recipient.  The inclusion of goods “consigned” is interesting, given that in commercial terms a “consignment sale” is a trading arrangement in which a seller sends goods to a buyer or reseller who pays the seller only as and when the goods are sold.  The seller remains the owner (title holder) of the goods until they are paid for in full.  Often, after a certain period, the seller takes back the unsold goods.  (Reference www.businessdirectory.com)  Consigned, it may therefore be argued, is something different to an outright sale.

For practical purposes, the most significant difference between the statutory definition and the ordinary meaning of “exported” is the “documentary proof” requirement.  SARS issued Interpretation Note 30 – THE SUPPLY OF MOVABLE GOODS AS CONTEMPLATED IN SECTION 11(1)(a)(i) READ WITH PARAGRAPH (a) OF THE DEFINITION OF “EXPORTED” AND THE CORRESPONDING DOCUMENTARY PROOF to specify and prescribe exactly what documentation will be required before they are willing to forgo their 14% tax.

The Note goes wider than merely listing the documents that a vendor needs to obtain.  It effectively expands the definition of exported to encompass the following requirements:

  • “Consigned or delivered” is interpreted to mean either physical delivery by the vendor to the recipient at an address in the export country, or delivery by a “cartage contractor” engaged by the vendor. There needs to be a contract between the vendor and the cartage contractor, with the contractor being liable for the delivery of the goods to the recipient and the vendor being liable for the full cost relating to the delivery.  The vendor needs to invoice the vendor and the vendor needs to be able to provide proof of payment of the transport costs.
  • The vendor may also make use of the services of a courier company or the Post Office, who would in effect be performing the services of a cartage contractor.
  • In order for a supply to qualify as an export, the goods must be exported via a “designated commercial port”. The list in the Note includes the international airports, certain land border posts and a number of railway stations (including Germiston).
  • The goods must be exported from the Republic within 90 days from the earlier of the time an invoice is issued by the vendor, or the time any payment of consideration is received by the vendor.
  • The vendor then has another 90 days to obtain the required documentation. If not, the supply does not qualify as an “export” and the vendor must apply the standard rate to calculate the VAT on the supply.

The Note lists the documents required in respect of the various means of export.  In general, the documentation consists of the “official documentation” (export or removal documentation prescribed under the Customs and Excise Act, for instance the Customs Declaration or SAD500) and “commercial documentation” providing proof of the transaction and the transportation of the goods.

Irrespective of the manner of export, the vendor needs to obtain the following documents:

  • A copy of the zero-rated invoice relating to the supply of the goods
  • The recipient’s order or the contract between the vendor and the recipient
  • Proof that the vendor paid the transport costs (or postage)
  • The customs documentation
  • Proof of payment for the movable goods supplied to the recipient.

Depending on the mode of delivery or transport, whether by road, rail, sea, air or post, the vendor will also need to obtain:

  • In the case of transport by road, a copy of the road manifest issued by the cartage contractor, or the relevant document to prove that the contractor took possession of the goods; as well as proof that the goods were delivered to the recipient.
  • Either a sea freight or airfreight transport document in the case of transport by ship or aeroplane.
  • For transport by rail, a copy of the rail consignment note, a copy of the combined consignment note and wagon label, or a copy of the container terminal order or freight transit order.
  • If making use of the post, proof of receipt of the goods by the postal service.

On closer scrutiny, the Note seems to be a bit ambiguous.  And when confronted with real life transactions, it falls a bit short in providing adequate guidance.  Then again, SARS admits in conclusion that the Note “may not prescribe all possible scenarios”.

In the global village, not all exports take place in the conventional way, with a vendor manufacturing goods in South Africa and then delivering it straight to the end consumer in an export country.  The Note does attempt to address some of these out-of-the-ordinary exports.

  • If movable goods are exported from the Republic before an invoice is issued or payment is made for the supply, the export documentation will pre-date the commercial documentation. The time of supply is only triggered once an invoice is issued or any payment for the supply is received, whichever is earlier.  In these instances, the vendor will have 90 days from the time of supply, and not from date of export, to obtain the necessary documentation.
  • Consignment stock will already have been exported to a vendor’s distributor or a third party’s premises when it is on-supplied to the ultimate recipient or buyer. The supply of such goods in that export country will qualify for the zero rate.  Once again, the customs documentation will pre-date the commercial documentation.
  • The Note also makes provision for a case where a vendor sells movable goods situated outside South Africa. This scenario would include a “sale on the high seas”, where for instance a South African vendor acquires goods from a supplier in country A.  While the goods are in transit, i.e. after having left the territorial border of country A but before entering the territorial border of South Africa, the vendor sells the goods to a recipient in country B.  Delivery is made directly to the recipient in country B without the goods ever having entered South Africa.  This is clearly an exception to the requirement that the zero rate will only apply to goods exported “via a designated commercial port”.

Will this exception also apply to a South African vendor who makes use of a manufacturer in another country and then delivers his goods directly to “a recipient at an address in an export country”, without first entering the goods in South Africa?

Going even further, what is the situation with regard to internet sales? Or crowdfunding?  A platform like Indiegogo hosts campaigns for funding, but also offers a Marketplace (selling goods).  The straight marketing of a vendor’s goods on such a platform would naturally constitute a supply for VAT purposes.  As far as crowdfunding is concerned, the VAT Commission of the European Union has issued Guidelines in terms of which reward-based crowdfunding (where the contributor to a crowdfunding campaign receives a non-financial reward in the form of goods or services in return for his contribution) constitutes a taxable supply.  These transactions do not have all the characteristics of a traditional sale and a South African vendor marketing his goods on one of these platforms or even simply by using his own website, may run into problems when SARS starts demanding supporting documents as part of a VAT review.

Unfortunately, the issue raises more questions than answers.  For an export to qualify as a “direct export” and be taxed at the zero rate, the vendor needs to be in control of the export from the moment the goods leave his possession to when it is delivered to the recipient.  This becomes very difficult to prove.  Add the complication of payments by way of PayPal and Bitcoin, and it becomes apparent that SARS may have to adopt a more flexible approach when it comes to export documentation requirements.

The good news for SARS is that they are not alone.  It seems that tax authorities worldwide are struggling to make sense of our brave new world.  In issuing their Guidelines, the EU VAT Committee reached unanimous agreement on some matters, while on others they could only “almost unanimously agree”.  In the USA, the “Amazon Laws” have the different states at each other’s and constitutional challenges are looming.

But back to the issue at hand.  If VAT is aimed at taxing domestic consumption and a vendor is able to prove that the goods in issue were delivered to the recipient in an export country in any which way, it should be taxed at the zero rate.  As far as the income tax implications of the new generation enterprises are concerned, let’s turn to Puccini’s Turandot:  “Nessun dorma” – let no one sleep until that problem is solved.

 

Annalize Duvenage

Specialist Tax Consultant

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CIPC Annual Returns: Filing of Financial Accountability Supplement

The Companies Act, No 71 of 2008, requires all companies (including close corporations) in South Africa to file annual returns and pay the requisite fee with the CIPC in the anniversary month of that company. The return has to be completed with certain compulsory information, such as turnover. Qualifying entities have to submit their annual financial statements together with the annual return.

In the event that a company is not required to submit annual financial statements with the annual return, or (if permitted) elect not to submit their annual financial statements with the annual return, the company is obliged to complete and submit a COR30.2 Financial Accountability Supplement. This supplement requires the company to declare the following information to the CIPC:

  • The name of the person primarily responsible for recording the day to day financial transactions and maintaining the company’s financial records.
  • The name of the person primarily responsible for compiling the financial information and preparing reports and statements for the company.
  • The person who provides advice to the company concerning the maintenance of financial records.
  • The name of the person performing the independent review of the annual financial statements.
  • Indicate how the company maintains its financial records – manually in paper based records, or electronically.
  • Indicate how the company prepares bank reconciliations, balance sheets and income and expense statements.
  • If the company deals in goods, with what frequency it carries out stock takes.
  • If the company holds any assets in fiduciary capacity for persons not related to the company, as contemplated in Regulation 28(2/(b).

It is important to realise that the company’s directors are responsible for making this declaration to the CIPC, even in the event that an authorised person or firm is mandated to submit the COR30.2 on the company’s behalf. Directors will be held liable in the event of them making or sanctioning incorrect declarations to the CIPC.

 

Oddette Boshoff

Director

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UKnow Editorial – September 2017

Being in the service delivery business is quite challenging these days, when the ability to deliver quality service to clients is often significantly dependent on the actions of government departments and other institutional organisations. None more so that when we deal with SARS. We had so many frustrating cases where both we as tax practitioners and our clients, the taxpayers, complied with all procedural and legal requirements, and for instance VAT refunds were withheld for no reason. So it was a victory for both tax practitioners and taxpayers when the Tax Ombud recently issued his report on the investigation into the alleged undue delayed payment of verified refunds by SARS. The investigation concluded that SARS indeed unreasonably withheld tax refunds by applying obstacles provided by their systems. Read our article in this newsletter for a summary of the report, or you can access the full report at

http://www.taxombud.gov.za/Documents/TAX%20OMBUD%E2%80%99S%20%20FINAL%20REPORT%20ON%20COMPLAINTS%20AGAINST%20SARS%20RELATING%20TO%20ALLEGED%20UNDUE%20DELAY%20IN%20THE%20PAYMENT%20OF%20REFUNDS.pdf

In their response to the Tax Ombud’s Provisional Report,  SARS was able to shirk responsibility because the Ombud was not able to provide any specific complaints to substantiate certain allegations.  Tax payers are encouraged to lodge their complaints, not only for their own sake, but also to strengthen the hand of the Ombud.

It is National Wills Week in South Africa from 11 to 15 September. It is imperative that every person considers the necessity of a will, as without a valid will a person’s estate will devolve in terms of the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act. Existing wills must be regularly reviewed to ensure that it still reflects the testator’s wishes and that the practical execution of the will have the results as intended by the testator. It is of the utmost importance to gain expert advice and planning around the tax consequences of wills, something which is often forgotten with dire consequences such as cash shortfalls in the estate. We include the Master of the High Court’s brochure on Frequently Asked Questions relating to wills.

We hope that you find our newsletters interesting and informative. As always, if you want to respond to or comment on any of our news items or other relevant information, please contact us at news@unikone.co.za or 022 – 482 1169, or join the conversation on our social media platforms on Linkedin and Facebook.

Warm regards until next month.

Oddette Boshoff

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No clean bill of health for SARS

On 28 August 2017 the Tax Ombud, Judge Bernard Ngoepe, released his report on the alleged delayed payment of refunds by SARS.  After an extensive examination, the diagnosis is not good and the prognosis not much better.

To truly comprehend the significance of this document, one needs to look at the mandate of the Tax Ombud, as prescribed in section 16 of the Tax Administration Act (TAA).  Initially, his mandate was restricted to reviewing and addressing complaints by taxpayers regarding service, procedural or administrative matters arising from the application of the provisions of tax Act by SARS.  However, the provision was amended with effect from 19 January 2017 to extend his mandate to review, at the request of the Finance Minister or at the initiative of the Tax Ombud with the approval of the Minister, any systemic and emerging issue related to a service matter or the application of the provisions of this Act or procedural or administrative provisions of a tax Act.

Since the office of the Tax Ombud first opened its doors in October 2013, one of the issues that most consistently formed the subject of taxpayer complaints was the delay in the payment of refunds.  Despite the Ombud raising the issue in his periodic reports to SARS and annual reports to Parliament, the complaints continued escalating.  For the period November 2016 to March 2017 the office received 500 complaints relating to delayed refund payments.

Given the seriousness and extent of the problem, the Ombud approached the Minister and on 14 March 2017, less than a month after the empowering provision came into effect, the Deputy Minister of Finance granted the Ombud approval to review the delay in the payments of refunds as a “systemic and emerging issue”.

The Ombud obtained data, conducted meetings with SARS and consulted various stakeholders, like SAICA and LSSA, before releasing a Provisional Report.  SARS’ response to this report is included verbatim in the Final Report.

At the onset, SARS was quick to point out that the number of complaints represents less than 1% of the refunds processed by SARS over the same period.  As a statistic, this number is not reliable.  It should be borne in mind that not all taxpayers who experience delayed refunds have the resources to lodge a complaint.  Furthermore, SARS’ complaints mechanism requires taxpayers to first approach their Call Centre, Contact Centre or a branch office.  If the issue is not resolved at this first port of call after 21 business days, the taxpayer needs to submit a complaint to the SARS Complaints Management Office (CMO) by way of eFiling.  Only if the CMO fails to resolve the matter within another 21 business days, may the taxpayer approach the Tax Ombud.  Taking all this into account, it is simply not accurate to suggest that only 1% of refunds were not paid on time.

The data considered by the Ombud shows that SARS’ credit book, reflecting all amounts owed to taxpayers, increased by almost R16 billion from R44.97 billion in April 2016 to R60.94 billion in April 2017.  However, the average refunds paid out for the fiscal year ending March 2017, decreased from R15 billion for the corresponding period in 2016 to R14 billion.

The report finds that there has indeed been an undue delay in the payment of refunds, and identifies twelve “obstacles allegedly placed by SARS to delay the payment of refunds”.

1. Failure to link submitted documentation requested by SARS to the main file; e.g. scanned documents not being linked

In order to verify a refund, a SARS auditor would request additional information by post or telephone, but neglect to open a link in eFiling.  This would necessitate the taxpayer visiting a SARS branch to have the documents scanned.  In many cases, the auditor does not have access to these documents or sometimes even be aware of their existence.

SARS’ response to the Provisional Report was that “from our own investigation and engagement with our front office teams, this allegation is not true.

It is unfortunate that this obstacle was identified after a “general” complaint by SAICA.  The fact the Ombud could not provide an illustrative case allowed SARS the opportunity to deny the existence of the problem.

2. The unwarranted placement of special stoppers

Stoppers are usually placed on a refund when a taxpayer is required to verify his bank details in person at a SARS branch.  One of the problems identified by SAICA is that these requests appear to be issued on a random basis, i.e. irrespective of whether there has been any change in the taxpayer’s details.

The Ombud had already broached this subject in a letter to SARS dated 17 November 2016:

“That SARS should clarify why it is necessary for taxpayers to confirm their banking details when SARS’s procedures already require substantiating documents to be submitted by taxpayers when they change their banking details.”

The Ombud accepts SARS’ explanation that one of the reasons for stoppers is to limit fraud.  However, the question remains why it would be necessary for a taxpayer to confirm banking details (that had already been verified on a previous occasion) again and “only after a refund claimed has been verified as legitimate”.

3. Using the filing of new returns as an excuse to block refunds

The system blocks refunds, even if they had already been verified, the moment a subsequent return is submitted.  In the Provisional Report, the Ombud noted that if SARS kept to its time frames, one period’s refund should be paid out before the next return is submitted.  Even if this may be a challenge where a taxpayer submits monthly VAT returns, the Ombud is adamant that the submission of subsequent returns, or the review, inspection or audit of another period, constitutes no reason to withhold the refund.

SARS’ response was that a remedy was introduced for VAT refunds in October 2016 and that the challenge experienced with regard to income tax refunds should be addressed with the implementation of GAAP.

The Ombud is not convinced and states that “whatever remedy SARS is referring to, does not work well”.  This comment is justified, given that 500 complaints were received after implementation of the “remedy”.

4. Delay in lifting stoppers and lack of time frame to do so

The Ombud found that lifting a stopper can take more than 2 months, and this after the audit of the refund has been finalised and personal details updated.

SARS undertakes to put steps in place to ensure that “inappropriate” stoppers are removed within 21 days.

The Ombud is concerned that the term “inappropriate” is very vague and does not include stoppers that have been placed on a refund in error.  He recommends removal of the stopper as soon as the issue that resulted in the placement of the stopper is resolved.

Once also cannot help wondering why SARS would need 21 days (presumably 21 business days) to remove a stopper if the refund has already been audited and bank details verified.

5. Refunds on one period being withheld while an audit/verification is in progress on another period

Section 190 of the TAA is clear and unambiguous.  SARS is not obliged to pay a refund until such time as a verification, inspection or audit of the refund has been finalised.

Withholding a refund that has been verified while reviewing a refund on another tax period can be viewed as an attempt “to secure payment of a future possible, but uncertain and as yet to be established, tax debt”.

In one case brought to the office of the Tax Ombud, SARS persisted in refusing to pay a refund pending the audit of unrelated VAT periods, even after the matter had been referred to the Ombud.  In another matter, SARS admitted that when selecting cases for audit, “they go into a pool and are not touched until a complaint is lodged”.

In its response to this allegation, SARS makes reference to “the high volume of refunds” and “a significant number of illicit refund claims”, while failing completely to address the issue of its ultra vires actions.

The Ombud recommends in no uncertain terms that this practice must stop.

6. SARS using historic returns

Outstanding returns appear on the system out of the blue, without previously being shown as being due.  Unfortunately, the Ombud was not able to cite a case as illustration, providing SARS with grounds for not accepting the Ombud’s recommendation to discontinue the practice.

7. SARS raises assessments and passes journals to clear unallocated credits

Unallocated payments, for example overpayments by taxpayers, amounted to R3.47 billion held by SARS at the end of the 2016 tax period.  By law, SARS may apply these amounts towards satisfying existing tax debts owed by the taxpayer.  In the absence of such debts, the monies must be refunded to the taxpayer.

However, SARS practice is to request the taxpayer to provide reasons for the overpayment, as well as proof that the payment was actually made.  If not satisfied, SARS raises an assessment for the precise amount of the unallocated payment to absorb the credit.

In one case, a VAT vendor accidentally paid the amount due in respect of his return twice.  He requested SARS to refund the excess payment and provided proof of the double payment.  Regardless, SARS issued an assessment for the amount of the overpayment.

SARS’ initial response to this allegation is shocking.  Reference is made to statutory provisions that provide no authority whatsoever for the practice to raise assessments, simply for the purpose of absorbing unallocated credits.  However, SARS does claim to have “discontinued the practice in cases where it is inappropriate”.

The Ombud is concerned with the fact that SARS does not indicate when exactly it ceased the practice.  Perhaps of greater concern is whether it is ever appropriate for SARS to raise an assessment to absorb an overpayment by a taxpayer, instead of simply refunding the money.

8. Requests for further information during audit

Auditors send repeated requests for information to taxpayers, thereby postponing the date on which interest starts accruing by 21 days with each request.  In the case cited by the Ombud, this practice resulted in a taxpayer receiving his refund for the December 2016 VAT period only in May 2017.

The Ombud accepts SARS’ response that it is unrealistic to expect an auditor to specify all the relevant information that may be required in an initial request, as the taxpayer’s answer to one query can raise other issues.

The recommendation is that interest should start to accumulate from the day when the taxpayer responded to the auditor’s first request.  This suggestion would however require an amendment of the legislation and it is doubtful if Parliament would acquiesce.

9. Delay in revision of assessments following the reinstatement of the initial refund after successfully disputing assessments

There is no prescribed period for revising and paying a refund that is reinstated after an objection has been decided in favour of the taxpayer.  In accordance with the “pay now, argue later” principle recognised by the Constitutional Court, a taxpayer’s objection to an assessment does not relieve him of the obligation to pay the tax due.  Thus, if the taxpayer’s objection is allowed and the refund reinstated, the payment made in respect of the overturned assessment lies on the system as an amount refundable.

The sample case referred to by the Ombud reads like a horror story.  The taxpayer objected to an assessment, but paid the tax due in full.  SARS conceded the matter on appeal and reinstated the refund, but instead of refunding the taxpayer, issued an additional assessment for the same amount without providing any reasons for the assessment.  The taxpayer lodged a complaint with the CMO, who simply informed him that he needs to object to the assessment!  Bear in mind that his objection to the first assessment for the same amount had already been upheld.  After submitting his complaint to the Tax Ombud, the refund was paid out without the taxpayer ever objecting.

The Ombud identifies several errors made by SARS in this case.  Most significantly, SARS “expected the taxpayer to lodge an objection to an estimated assessment which was raised for the sole purpose of avoiding to pay a refund”.

In response, SARS gives an undertaking to “endeavour” to revise assessments within 45 days after a dispute has been resolved.

The Ombud recommends a shorter period.  This seems justified, given that a taxpayer is only afforded 30 days to prepare and submit and objection, including all supporting documents.  One cannot help wondering why SARS would need 45 days to revise an assessment in a case where the refund had effectively been verified when the objection was considered and allowed.

10. Diesel refund delays

Taxpayers eligible for the diesel rebate, declare their eligible use on their VAT returns.  The system provides for the set-off of the diesel refund against any liability for VAT, leaving only the net amount refundable or payable.  However, if the diesel refund is audited or verified, the amount is no longer treated as a credit, resulting in a liability for VAT with added penalties and interest.

The Ombud’s inability to cite a specific case and the proposed diesel reforms that include separate registration for diesel refunds, resulted in SARS essentially being absolved from having to respond to this allegation.

This is unfortunate, as the Discussion Paper on the Review of the Diesel Fuel Tax Refund System was only issued in February this year and the proposed dual registration system is still a long way from being implemented.  In the meantime, there is no obstacle SARS continuing its practice of failing to set-off the diesel credit against the VAT liability, and thereby creating additional liabilities for penalties and interest.

11. Raising assessments prematurely

When SARS requests substantiating documents for purposes of verifying a refund, a taxpayer is usually allowed 21 days to respond.  In the Ombud’s report it is alleged that assessments are sometimes raised before the deadline expires.

Failure to provide an illustrative case and an admission by the industry that taxpayers sometimes fail to upload all relevant information at the first instance, gave this round to SARS.

12. Refunds for periods that have been verified by SARS are automatically set off against debts on other periods notwithstanding a request for suspension or where there is suspension of payment

In terms of section 164(4) of the TAA, SARS may not institute collection steps once a taxpayer has submitted a request for suspension of payment.  The SARS system, however, automatically sets off refunds against other debts, irrespective of whether a request for suspension has been received or considered.

SARS acknowledges this allegation and has apparently put an automated process in place for dealing with requests for suspension of payment.  This should hopefully prevent the set-off of refunds against disputed tax debts.

Considering the report in its entirety, one must accept that many claims for refunds are not justified and that the fraudulent use of bank accounts is a reality.  And then there are the sheer numbers.  For the period under review SARS had to process and verify more than 5 million refunds.  The task is herculean.

That being said, what is apparent from the Ombud’s report is that SARS does not play by the rules.  The introductory remarks made by SARS in its response to the Ombud’s Provisional Report smack of pure defensive denial: “We want to record that there was no evidence and no finding was therefore made, that SARS intentionally delayed the payment of refunds as was alleged.”

The Ombud concedes that the delays may not always be intentional, but points out that “in cases such as when an assessment is raised which comes up with a debt identical to the cent to that otherwise due to be paid to the taxpayer, the inference of intentional delay is irresistible”.

Arguably the most concerning aspect of the Ombud’s report is the many instances of blatant disregard for the law.  SARS is a creature of statute and may only operate within the ambit of the relevant enabling legislation.  The report identifies policies and practices that fall foul of the requirements of administrative justice.  The Ombud has found that “the system allows for SARS to unduly delay the payment of verified refunds to taxpayers in certain circumstances”.  He has made recommendations on how to remove each of the twelve obstacles that are identified in the report.  However, and this is very significant, the Ombud’s recommendations are not binding on SARS.  Nevertheless, the SARS Commissioner may have to face some tough questions at the next sitting of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance.

 

Annalize Duvenage

Specialist Tax Consultant

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UKnow Editorial – August 2017

Happy Women’s Month! We are proud to support women in our workplace and as our clients and business partners. We are certainly very proud of the women of Unik Professional Services.

July saw the implementation of yet more legislation: Non-compliance with Laws and Regulations (NOCLAR). Please read our article on this to understand how this will affect your business. The necessary provisions and information regarding NOCLAR have now been updated in our engagement letters for services that we provide, and our clients will therefore receive new engagement letters henceforth.

We also include the first of a series of articles on the Companies Act, written by specialist consultant Chris de Jager. It is presented as a broad overview, aimed to give a basic understanding of the most important matters contained in the Companies Act as well as other applicable legislation that affect companies.

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to one of our colleagues. Len Geldenhuys was part of the firm that is today Unik Professional Services for 17 years. Most of our clients would have had a long standing relationship with Len as he was responsible for our debtors administration. Please see our obituary below. Please be advised that we are in the process of re-allocating the debtors administration within our firm, and we appreciate your patience with this.

We hope that you find our newsletters interesting and informative. As always, if you want to respond to or comment on any of our news items or other relevant information, please contact us at news@unikone.co.za or 022 – 482 1169, or join the conversation on our social media platforms on Linkedin and Facebook.

Warm regards until next month.

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