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UP-TO-DATE: Keeping you informed of business today

CA(SA) trainees unite to create positive change

Access to high-quality education in a healthy learning environment is a rarity in rural South Africa, particularly in the formative years. CA(SA) trainees are fortunate to be part of the most educated group of young people in this country, and it is their role to invest in developing the future South Africa. Based on this philosophy, CA(SA) trainees from Investec, FirstRand, Standard Bank, KPMG and Deloitte have joined forces to create sustainable change by contributing to the development of the youth in the Eskom informal settlement through each adopting a crèche.

Adopt-a-Crèche is operationally run by Seeds of Africa, but they rely heavily on their donors for time, money and in-kind contributions. After a two-year involvement, the Investec trainees decided to embark on a mission to unite CA(SA) trainees across Johannesburg in supporting one cause. Together they have created not only a stronger platform for change but a place where like-minded individuals can meet, discuss ideas, leverage off each other’s networks, and hopefully emerge as a network of strong global leaders.

Thus far, 200 children’s lives have been enriched across five very minimalistic crèches through the provision of a curriculum, ad hoc capital expenditure, and fun outings.

The trainees were encouraged by the words of Nelson Mandela: ‘Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great; you can be that generation.’ As one of South Africa’s leading professions, it is the vision of chartered accountants to be on the frontier of change in our country. The CA(SA) trainees challenge each firm not yet signed up to join them in developing our youth.


After downloading a few e-books and devouring them, Johannes Becker CA(SA) started programming. He has successfully written an app iSpendBudget for personal budgeting and expense tracking.

With the app you can record your expenses hassle free with a picker wheel. It is quick and easy with an automated, personalised budget using your income to give you a budget guide. Use the proposed budget and customise your own.

Available as a free download in the Apple App Store.
Johan is also currently working on iWatchBudget to be ready for the Apple Watch launch in South Africa.

Support local business

Many South African consumers believe buying online technology services such as software and advertising from foreign websites is cheap. But PwC says this is a false perception, and it may have a detrimental impact on the longevity of local service providers who are competing with foreign service providers.

Thousands of software applications (apps) are bought by electronic users from online app stores whose providers are international companies.

South Africa’s existing tax law on digital-related services, amended last year, imposes VAT on electronic services such as educational materials, games, e-books, audiovisual content and music. But local and global authorities want to expand their scope to include services such as software applications and online advertising. This would target companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook.

Local entities – including online retailers of technology goods – charge VAT on their services to local consumers and pay corporate income tax. But most foreign retailers of electronic services don’t have a permanent office in South Africa.

While South Africa has been proactive in seeking to tax the online economy, more work needs to be done to eliminate the gaps, create consistency of treatment, and address the perception that foreign is always cheaper.

Source: Financial Mail, 9–15 July 2015

Tax Administration, 2nd edition

A title from Juta aimed at the judiciary, the legislature in dealing with tax policy, tax administrators, practitioners, teachers and students.

The rules governing tax administration in South Africa are often complex, confusing and sometimes seem arbitrary. The long-awaited 2nd edition of Tax Administration by renowned and respected authors Dr Beric Croome and Lynette Olivier aims to elucidate the Tax Administration Act 2011 (TAA).

Written in a clear and accessible style, Tax Administration provides tax practitioners with clear and authoritative guidance on aspects such as the registration and submission of tax returns, assessments, requests for information, penalties and interest, privilege, reportable arrangements, dispute resolution, advance tax rulings and remedies. Showing how areas of law interrelate and noting best international practice, the authors set out the rules of tax collection in a well-structured and theoretically sound way. The authors also include comparative studies with foreign regimes that deal with the functions of the Office of the Tax Ombud, the very important issue of the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, and the taxpayer’s right to privacy.

All chapters in the 2nd edition of Tax Administration have been extensively updated, with the authors thoroughly unpacking the chapters on information gathering and dispute resolution.

Financial update

R20 billion – Unclaimed retirement benefits in South Africa currently total R20 billion, says the Financial Services Board. Many beneficiaries are believed to be migrant workers and their families from neighbouring countries who are not aware of the benefits to which they are entitled. Figures from the FSB estimate 3,5 million beneficiaries have yet to be traced and paid out.

170 000 people – At the launch of the tax season on 1 July, more than 170 000 South African taxpayers had already submitted their tax returns for the 2015 financial year, according to SARS. The first-day submission rate was 5,7% higher than in 2014.

Source: Financial Mail, 9 –15 July 2015


IRBA issued Guides for Register Auditors
The IRBA issued the following Guides for Registered Auditors that are effective for engagements commencing on or after 1 September 2015:

  • Guidance on performing audits on behalf of the AGSA
  • Guidance on performing audits where the AGSA has opted not to perform the audit

Visit the IRBA website to download these Guides.


SAICA withdraws Revised Guide on Forecasts, effective 15 December 2015
The guide is no longer consistent with the requirements of International Standards on Assurance Engagements.

IRBA issued Proposed SAAPS 3 (Revised 2015) for comment by 19 October 2015
The proposed SAAPS 3 (Revised 2015) is available on the IRBA website.

Revised illustrative engagement letter, assurance report and related guidance for use on sustainability engagements
The guidance is available on the IRBA website and is effective for assurance reports issued on or after 31 December 2015. Early adoption is permitted.

IAASB’s staff issued audit practice alert
The alert highlights the responsibilities of the engagement partners in circumstances where they are not located where the majority of the audit work is performed.

Visit the IFAC website for more details.

IRBA adopts ISA 720 (Revised), The Auditor’s Responsibilities Relating to Other Information
This standard has been adopted for use by registered auditors and is available on the IRBA website.


Deferral of the effective date of the new revenue standard
The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has issued an amendment to IFRS 15, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, formalising the deferral of the effective date by one year to 2018. Earlier application of IFRS 15 continues to be permitted. Entities also continue to be permitted to choose between applying the standard either retrospectively to each prior reporting period presented or retrospectively with the cumulative effect of initially applying the standard recognised at the date of initial application.

Effective Date of IFRS 15 – Revenue from Contracts with Customers and the IASB press release can be downloaded from eIFRS.

2015 FRSC newsletters
These newsletters provide an update on the IFRSs and Exposure Drafts discussed by the Financial Reporting Standards Council (FRSC) at its meetings held in 2015. It also provides you with a list of draft pronouncements and a guide issued by the FRSC for public comment. The newsletters can be downloaded from the Department of Trade and Industry website [Home>> Legislation and Business Regulation>> Statutory Committees>> Financial Reporting Standards Council].


New returns during filing season
The recent SARS practice to release new tax returns with little notice during filing season has complicated the life of many tax practitioners with 2015 seeing a new ITR12, ITR12T and ITR14. Not only does it result in new data to be obtained but also results in data already captured on saved returns being lost. Practitioners should, where and if possible, attempt to plan around these changes to minimise disruptions to their practices.

Urgent consultation with SARS is required to ensure that in future a more practical approach to such changes is implemented to minimise the disruption to tax practitioners and taxpayers.