By Michael Stein (Friday Page)
In an item published on 9 November 2011, I bemoaned the chaos that bedevils our tax legislation, complaining about the sheer volume of legislation, the mass of amendments to previous amendments and the incidence of ‘serial’ amendments, that is, instances when provisions are amended from a certain date and then amended again from a later date in the same amending act.
Ernest Mazansky, the director for tax at Werksmans, has added his voice to the criticism, in reacting to the latest last minute proposed amendments aimed at resolving certain problems with the dividends tax. He is quoted inBusiness Report(3 September 2012) as saying that the original legislation should have anticipated the problems.
He said that the scheme thatsarsis aiming to counter for foreign shareholders was not based on a new concept but had been brought to South Africa by foreign institutions, and argued that the drafters of the local legislation should have researched developments in other tax jurisdictions, rather than having ‘to reinvent the wheel’.
He said the latest announcement was part of a pattern of amendments designed to address problems created by flaws in initial legislation:
‘When it comes to drafting legislation [the] Treasury has limited resources. And every year they try to do too much and they don’t get it done properly. Then they have to resort to amendments.’
Treasury spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane responded that he would need details of the continuous amendments before responding to the criticism.
Perhaps he should read myFriday Pageof 9 November 2011, or just glance at recent years’ amending acts!