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How much time you spend paying taxes in South Africa

Tuesday, 22 March 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: BusinessTech
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Author: BusinessTech

Code for South Africa has released a 2016 tax clock which calculates how much time in your day you spend working to pay taxes – and how much time you spend working for yourself.

The tool is intended to be educational – part of Code for South Africa’s mandate of promoting informed decision making to drive positive social change and support active citizenry.

Taking an average annual salary of R178,000, an employee would be spending 10 minutes of each day servicing the country’s national debt.

16 minutes of the work day are working towards Basic Education, while 13 minutes go to local government and housing.

Here’s how an average South African’s 9am to 5pm work day is broken down, in terms of tax:

  • 25 seconds – Unallocated reserves
  • 1 minute – Science, technology and the environment
  • 2 minutes – Agriculuture, rural development and land reform
  • 2 minutes – Trade and industry
  • 3 minutes – Law, courts and prisons
  • 4 minutes – Defence and state security
  • 5 minutes – Higher education and training
  • 5 minutes – Employment and labour affairs
  • 5 minutes – General public services
  • 6 minutes – Economic infrastructure
  • 6 minutes – Police services
  • 10 minutes – National debt
  • 12 minutes – Social grants
  • 12 minutes – Health
  • 13 minutes – Local government and housing
  • 16 minutes – Basic education
  • 6 hours, 17 minutes –  Working for yourself

The time spent changes depending on your tax bracket – for instance, a high earner will spend far more of their time working for government, and less time for themselves, with almost 2 full more hours dedicated to paying taxes.

According to data from Rolling Alpha, "rich” taxpayers (who earn over R500,000 a year) make up about 1.75% of the population and pay 64% of the country’s total income tax. The rest is made up of the middle class (earning between R70,000 and R500,000 a year). 

Rolling alpha tax 00


Who pay taxes?

 Rolling alpha tax 01

Tax payer breakdown

Rolling alpha tax 02

To see how your salary your salary is broken down, you can use the Code for SA tax clock on their site.

This article first appeared on



Section 240A of the Tax Administration Act, 2011 (as amended) requires that all tax practitioners register with a recognized controlling body before 1 July 2013. It is a criminal offense to not register with both a recognized controlling body and SARS.

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