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Deloitte Africa Tax & Legal: South Africa COVID-19 update

Force Majeure in commercial agreements

In light of extraordinary events around the world relating to COVID-19, suppliers will be looking to their commercial agreements for available avenues for relief from their performance obligations. On the other hand, customers will be assessing their rights to enforce these performance obligations under the same agreements. A party whose ability to perform obligations under a commercial agreement is negatively impacted by the regulations and lockdown may look to trigger a force majeure clause in the agreement in order to avoid being in breach of contract.

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South Africa employment law review

Our Global Employment COVID-19 Task Team are continually monitoring developments and have prepared resources outlining key employment law issues that need to be managed at this time. This includes comprehensive country reports in respect of numerous jurisdictions across the globe, setting out local employment law consequences and options available to employers and employees during this recommended, and in some cases mandated state of quarantine (and beyond), as necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics covered include alternatives available to employers in order to minimise the adverse financial effects of the crisis on their businesses and workforces and to avoid or mitigate the need for retrenchment, death and disability benefits available to employees (or their dependents) who have contracted the virus, as well as personal and corporate income tax breaks and other benefits offered by local governments during this unprecedented global event.

To request a copy of the South African COVID-19 Employment Law Country Report, find out which other reports are available, or get specific employment law advice in respect of your workforce, please contact aposokhov@deloitte.co.za

South Africa tax developments - update

In our Tax Alert dated 24 March 2020, we summarised some of the tax relief measures that have been announced in South Africa (click here to access a copy of the Tax Alert).

On 29 March 2020, draft explanatory notes on the proposed COVID-19 tax measures and an accompanying media release were issued (click here and here to access copies of these documents).

On 1 April 2020, the following draft tax legislation and accompanying explanatory memoranda were released:

1. Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill, 2020.

This draft Bill deals with the deferral of payment of employees’ tax and provisional tax that were described in our Tax Alert dated 24 March 2020 (see above).  In addition, the draft Bill contains provisions allowing for the deferral of interim payments by a “micro business” as defined in the Sixth Schedule to the Income Tax Act and also provides for the extension of time periods for specific tax obligations that are listed in the Bill (for example, for purposes of SARS tax audits, search and seizure warrants, the running of prescription in respect of assessments, tax dispute resolution proceedings, certain obligations under the Customs and Excise Act, and the period of validity of withholding tax declaration forms), as a result of the national lockdown. The time period provisions are intended to provide individuals and businesses with additional time to comply with selected tax obligations and do not extend to tax return filings or payments (payment deferral requests need to be dealt with by way of rules set out in section 167 of the Tax Administration Act). In general, the amendments effected by the Bill are proposed to come into effect on 1 April 2020. Click here to access a copy.

2. Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill, 2020.

This draft Bill deals with the extension of the Employment Tax Incentive relief measures that were described in our Tax Alert dated 24 March 2020 (see above). In addition, the draft Bill contains provisions prescribing the tax treatment of donations made to any COVID-19 disaster relief fund and the employees’ tax treatment of amounts paid from such funds.  Click here to access a copy.

Comments on the draft bills are due for submission to National Treasury by 15 April 2020.

South Africa import and export relief measures (COVID-19)

  • Click here for a summary of recent measures announced regarding the import and export of goods, including restrictions, priority flows and special measures in place during the lockdown.
  • SARS Interpretation Note No. 30 and Export Regulations prescribe the time periods to export movable goods, apply for a refund from the VAT Refund Administrator and obtain the relevant documentary proof of export. On 26 March 2020, SARS issued Binding General Ruling (BGR) No. 52 dealing with the time frame (for purposes of VAT rules) for the export of goods by vendors and qualifying purchasers affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Click here or a summary of the concessions with regard to timeframes that apply to goods exported. Click here for a copy of BGR 52.

 

Key Resources

Namibia Tax Alert (COVID-19)

The Minister of Finance, honourable Iipumbu Shiimi, issued the first phase of the economic stimulus and relief package (“the package”) on 1 April 2020 in collaboration with all stakeholders, private sector, development partners and non-state actors. The objective of the package is to address the negative economic and social effects stemming from Namibia’s first 21-day lockdown period.  Click here to access the Tax Alert.

Kenya Tax Alert (COVID-19)

The President of the Republic of Kenya delivered a speech on 25 March 2020, outlining a number of measures aimed at cushioning Kenyans against the economic effects of COVID-19 pandemic. This announcement has come along with other actions across the globe, as respective governments have come up with various fiscal and monetary measures to mitigate the impact on households and businesses. Click here to access the Tax Alert.

Nigeria Tax newsletter (COVID-19)

Countries around the world, including Nigeria, have put in place measures - such as border closures, restriction of movement of people/goods and provision of welfare packages to citizens - to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. This newsletter examines the various measures put in place in Nigeria to contain the spread of COVID-19 and also alleviate the impact of the pandemic.  Click here to access the newsletter.

Global update on COVID-19 customs and trade measures

In addition to the large-scale health threat, the COVID-19 outbreak is heavily impacting economic activity, leading governments across the globe take measures to protect public health, but also to help businesses deal with and mitigate the sizeable impact.

Deloitte global trade advisory (GTA) professionals, across the globe, are constantly monitoring the latest developments with respect to measures taken in the field of customs and trade. Click here to download the global overview of COVID-19 customs and trade measures announced to date.

World Tax Advisor newsletter (featuring special COVID-19 section)

This edition of World Tax Advisor includes articles from various countries announcing measures in response to the COVID-19 crisis. These measures, which vary in magnitude and scope, are intended to mitigate the economic and fiscal effects on businesses and individuals. Click here to access this edition. To receive World Tax Advisor by email, click on subscribe. For further updates, please visit taxathand.com.

Read more and contact us

Public authorities are taking decisive action to respond to the emerging health threat and the business community is having to reconsider the adequacy of their preparedness measures. To support and assist you in promoting continuity of operations, we have put together the following tools:      

  • Visit the Deloitte COVID-19 hub  for all the latest Deloitte content in relation to COVID-19, including our insights on Combating COVID-19 with resilience, and how businesses can manage and mitigate risk.
  • Tax reform. Unprecedented change. Unique challenges. This is the future of tax. How can you stay ahead? Understand what changes are unfolding in the global tax landscape. Be informed so that you can turn change into opportunity. For the latest tax news and information from over 80 countries, subscribe to Deloitte tax@hand to get timely COVID-19 global and regional tax news, information, and resources as developed by Deloitte firms around the world or download the tax@hand mobile app today.     
  • Visit the Deloitte Tax Atlas COVID-19 Tax & Fiscal Measures Microsite and access a high-level summary of tax and fiscal COVID-19 measures that have been announced by governments.     
  • COVID-19 Signal Topic Alerts

Stay up-to-date with the latest government tax and fiscal responses to COVID-19. Deloitte has collaborated with Signal AI to develop a tax-intelligent news platform that produces daily alerts on COVID-19 initiatives. To sign up to receive Signal Topic Alerts, please send your name, organisation, and email address to: signal@deloitte.com

Need help? Connect with our Africa Tax & Legal Technical
Council at zataxandlegaltech@deloitte.co.za

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