South Africa

PODCAST | Economic news of the week: Tax season will still be continuing as normal

In this edition of Business Day Spotlight, we talk about the state of local taxes as the government grapples with funding its activities in a contracting economy.

Host Mudiwa Gavaza is joined by Keith Engel, CEO of the SA Institute of Tax Professionals (SAIT).

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Engel begins by explaining the work of SAIT. The institute is said to be the largest of the professional tax bodies in SA, representing about 8,000 professionals, says Engel.

With finance minister Tito Mboweni expected to deliver the medium-term budget policy statement in the coming week, Engel says businesses and individuals will most likely be watching to see how state funds, primarily funded from taxes, will be used.

Engel says one of the biggest problems facing the economy is that the state finds itself spending more than it is collecting in taxes. That issue is likely to be made worse in 2020 given the loss of many people’s incomes, as well as the need to fund the government’s response to the crisis.

One of the most immediate things that the state can do is try to expand the current tax base, which has probably become smaller due to the effects of lockdown.

Engel says despite Covid-19 having negatively affected many people and businesses around the country, tax season was still continuing as normal. There were some concessions given during the hard parts of the lockdown but the SA Revenue Service, which is fighting to improve its collections, would be going ahead as normal.

The specialist advises that South Africans comply as much as possible with the law and file their taxes as best they can. Though some may try to use the crisis as a way to avoid paying their taxes, he says authorities will eventually catch up with any wrongdoing.

The discussion also focuses on tax season, the state of public finances, possible lost taxes due to Covid-19, the practicality of increased taxes and advice for consumers and business during this time.

For more episodes, click here.

Engage on Twitter at #BDSpotlight

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 Business Day Spotlight is a MultimediaLIVE production.

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