Category Archives: VAT

VAT increase and the effect on property transfers and the registration of transfers before and after 1 April 2018.

The increase was announced in the Minister of Finance’s Budget Speech on 21 February 2018. The standard rate of VAT will change from 14% to 15% on 1 April 2018 (the effective date).

How will this VAT increase affect property transactions, property registrations and estate agent commissions?

Question 1:

How will the rate increase work generally for fixed property transactions?

The rate of VAT for fixed property transactions will be the rate that applies on the date of registration of transfer of the property in a Deeds Registry, or the date that any payment of the purchase price is made to the seller – whichever event occurs first. (See, however, the exception in Question 2 below where registration (delivery) of the fixed property occurs on or before 23 April 2018.)

If a “deposit” is paid and held in trust by the transferring attorney, this payment will not trigger the time of supply as it is not regarded as payment of the purchase price at that point in time. Normally the sale price of a property is paid to the seller in full by the purchaser’s bank (for example, if a bond is granted) or by the purchaser’s transferring attorney.

However, if the seller allows the purchaser to pay the purchase price off over a period of time, the output tax and input tax of the parties is calculated by multiplying the tax fraction at the original time of supply by the amount of each subsequent payment, as and when those payments are made. In other words, if the time of supply was triggered before 1 April 2018, your agreed payments to the seller over time will not increase because of the increase in the VAT rate on 1 April 2018.

Example:

A vendor sells a commercial building and issues a tax invoice to the purchaser on 10 January 2018. If the property will only be registered in the Deeds Registry on or after 1 April 2018 and payment will be made by the purchaser’s bank or transferring attorneys on the same date, then the time of supply will only be triggered at that later date. In this case, VAT must be charged at 15% as the rate increased on 1 April 2018 which would be before the time of supply. It does not matter that an invoice or a tax invoice was issued before the time of supply and before the VAT rate increased. The tax invoice in this case would also have to be corrected as it would have indicated VAT charged at the incorrect rate of 14%.

See also the next questions below for the rate specific rule that provides an exception for the purchase of “residential property” or land on which a dwelling is included as part of the deal.

Question 2:

Is there a rate specific rule which is applicable to me if I signed the contract to buy residential property (for example, a dwelling) before the rate of VAT increased, but payment of the purchase price and registration will only take place on or after 1 April 2018?

Yes. You will pay VAT based on the rate that applied before the increase on 1 April 2018 (that is 14% VAT and not 15% VAT). This rate specific rule overrides the rules as discussed in Question 1, which applies for non- residential fixed property.

This rate specific rule applies only if:

  • you entered into a written agreement to buy the dwelling (that is “residential property”) before 1 April 2018;
  • both the payment of the purchase price and the registration of the property in your name will only occur on or after 1 April 2018; and
  • the VAT-inclusive purchase price was determined and stated as such in the agreement.

For purposes of this rule, “residential property” includes:

  • an existing dwelling, together with the land on which it is erected, or any other real rights associated with that property;
  • so-called plot-and-plan deals where the land is bought together with a building package for a dwelling to be erected on the land; or
  • the construction of a new dwelling by any vendor carrying on a construction business;
  • a share in a share block company which confers a right to or an interest in the use of a dwelling.

Question 3:

How will the VAT increase affect the seller of the property and estate agent commission?

Two possible scenarios can apply:

Scenario 1:

Should the contract of sale read that a percentage commission plus VAT is payable, that will be calculated at 14% if transfer takes place before 1 April 2018 and at 15% when registration takes place on or after 1 April 2018.

The net result is that the seller (who sold prior to 31 March 2018) will receive a lower net amount on the selling price because of the increased VAT, should transfer take place after 31 March 2018.

Scenario 2:

Should the contract of sale refer to a fixed commission amount inclusive of VAT, the opposite will apply. The seller will receive the same amount, but the agent will receive less because of the increased VAT.

For more information on the VAT Increase, download the SARS VAT Increase general guide and FAQs here

Please contact us should you have any specific questions.

The validity of tax invoices – it is your responsibility

The audits of Value-Added Tax (VAT) returns by the South African Revenue Service (SARS), have increased the focus on the validity of tax invoices for the purposes of VAT.

A VAT vendor submitting VAT returns is responsible for ensuring that all invoices included in the returns comply with the relevant legislation. If valid tax invoices cannot be provided at the time of a VAT audit, the vendor may lose up to 100% of the input tax being claimed on the invoice, even if an amended valid invoice can be provided subsequent to the audit. Furthermore, serious penalties, interest and other consequences may be imposed on the VAT vendor for errors, intentional omissions and fraud.

The requirements

Section 20 of the Value-Added Tax Act, no 89 of 1991, together with the VAT404 Guide for Vendors as updated in March 2012, sets out the requirements for a valid tax invoice.

A VAT vendor must issue a tax invoice within 21 days of the supply having been made where the consideration for the supply exceeds R50, whether the purchaser has requested this or not. If the consideration for the supply is R50 or less, a tax invoice is not required. However, a document such as a till slip or sales docket indicating the VAT charged by the supplier, will be required to verify the input tax.

The requirements for tax invoices of which the consideration or taxable supply is more than R5 000 are:

  1. the words “tax invoice” should be displayed;
  2. name, physical address and VAT registration number of the supplier name, physical; address and VAT registration number of the recipient;
  3. original serial number of the tax invoice;
  4. the date of issue of the tax invoice;
  5. full and proper description of the goods sold and / or services rendered;
  6. quantity or volume of goods and / or services supplied; and
  7. total amount of the invoice and VAT amount in South African currency (except for certain zero-rated supplies).

The requirements for tax invoices of less than R5 000 are:

  1. the words “tax invoice” should be displayed;
  2. name, physical address and VAT registration number of the supplier;
  3. original serial number of the tax invoice;
  4. the date of issue of the tax invoice;
  5. full and proper description of the goods sold and / or services rendered;
  6. total amount of the invoice and VAT amount in South African currency (except for certain zero-rated supplies).

Second-hand goods

In the case of second-hand goods purchased from a non-vendor, the purchaser has to record the following information:

  1. name, address and identity number of the supplier, confirmed by the person’s identity document or passport. (If the value of the supply is equal to or greater than R1 000, a copy of this document must be retained by the purchaser. If the non-vendor is a juristic person, a letterhead or similar document stating the name and registration number of the juristic person is required);
  2. date of acquisition;
  3. quantity or volume of goods;
  4. description of the goods;
  5. total consideration paid for the supply; and
  6. declaration by the supplier stating that the supply is not a taxable supply.

Conclusion

If a vendor fails to deduct an input tax in respect of a particular tax period, that input tax may be deducted in a later tax period, but limited to a period of five years from the date that the particular supply was made. However, when a vendor becomes aware of an output tax not declared in the relevant period, a corrected VAT return for that specific period should be submitted. It is not acceptable to declare the output tax in the next period and SARS may impose penalties and interest on the output VAT omitted.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

Basiese registrasies en nakoming vir besighede

A2_b_newVir enige besigheid wat in Suid-Afrika sake doen, is dit ‘n uitdaging om op die hoogte te bly van alle vereiste registrasies en nakoming wat deur wetgewing en ander regulering voorgeskryf word. Hier volg ‘n opsomming van die mees algemene registrasies en nakoming wat op die meeste besighede van toepassing is.

  1. Jaarlikse opgawes en jaargelde (Maatskappye): Enige maatskappy wat by die CIPC geregistreer wil bly, moet jaarliks gedurende die maatskappy se verjaardagmaand ‘n opgawe van inligting by die CIPC indien en ook die gepaardgaande jaargeld betaal. (cipc.co.za)
  1. Inkomstebelasting: Enige onderneming wat handel dryf moet by die Suid-Afrikaanse Inkomstediens (SAID) as ‘n belastingbetaler registreer, hetsy as individu/eenmansaak, maatskappy, trust, of enige ander persoon. Jaarliks moet hierdie onderneming ‘n inkomstebelastingopgawe (IB12 of IB14) voltooi en indien. Verder moet daar elke ses maande voorlopige belasting bereken en ‘n opgawe (IRP6) ingedien word, en indien nodig, moet enige verskuldigde bedrag ook betaal word. Nie-nakoming kan aansienlike boetes tot gevolg hê. (sars.gov.za)
  1. Belasting op Toegevoegde Waarde (BTW): Indien die jaarlikse omset van die onderneming R1 miljoen sal oorskry, moet die onderneming vir BTW registreer. ‘n Vrywillige registrasie kan gedoen word indien die omset meer as R50 000 per jaar sal wees. BTW-opgawes moet gewoonlik elke twee maande ingedien word en, indien nodig, moet enige verskuldigde bedrag ook betaal word. (sars.gov.za)
  1. Werkloosheidsversekering: Indien ‘n onderneming werknemers in diens het, moet die onderneming as werkgewer vir werkloosheidsversekering registreer. Maandelikse opgawes vir betaling moet ingedien word. ‘n Bedrag gelykstaande aan een persent van die salarisse van werknemers is deur die werkgewer betaalbaar, en ‘n verdere een persent deur die werknemer. (labour.gov.za)
  1. Werknemersbelasting: Indien enige van die werknemers van ‘n onderneming se vergoeding die perk in die Belastingwet oorskry, moet die onderneming as werkgewer vir LBS (lopende betaalstelsel) registreer. Die belasting moet maandeliks van sodanige werknemers se vergoeding afgetrek word en aan die SAID oorbetaal word tesame met die indiening van die nodige opgawes. Daar moet ook twee keer per jaar ‘n LBS-rekonsiliasie (IRP501) opgestel en by die SAID ingedien word. Jaarliks moet daar saam met die LBS-rekonsiliasie ook IRP5-sertifikate vir alle werknemers uitgemaak word. (sars.gov.za)
    1. Vaardigheidsontwikkelingsheffing: Indien die totale jaarlikse salarisrekening van die onderneming R500 000 oorskry, of indien die onderneming meer as 50 werknemers het, moet die onderneming ook vir die vaardigheidsontwikkelingsheffing (SDL) registreer, en moet daar ook maandeliks opgawes ingedien en die nodige heffing betaal word. (labour.gov.za / www.sars.gov.za)
  1. Vergoedingskommissaris: Enige onderneming wat werknemers in diens het, ongeag die vergoeding wat vir sodanige werknemers betaal word, moet as werkgewer vir ongevalleversekering by die Departement van Arbeid registreer. Die onderneming moet jaarliks ‘n opgawe by die departement indien en word dan aangeslaan teen ‘n persentasie van die totale salarisrekening van die onderneming. Werknemers wat aan diens beseer word, kan dan vergoeding van hierdie fonds eis. (labour.gov.za)
  1. Gelyke Indiensneming: ‘n Onderneming wat meer as 50 werknemers in diens het, of wat die gestelde drempel van jaarlikse omset vir die spesifieke sektor waarin dit handel dryf, oorskry, moet elke twee jaar ‘n gelyke indiensnemingsplan opstel en by die Departement van Arbeid indien. (labour.gov.za)

Hierdie artikel is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet nie gebruik of staatgemaak word op as professionele advies nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of vir enige verlies of skade wat voortspruit uit vertroue op enige inligting hierin nie. Kontak atyd jou regsadviseur vir spesifieke en gedetailleerde advies.

Transfer of a property: Is VAT or transfer duty payable?

A3_BA Purchaser is responsible for payment of transfer cost when acquiring an immovable property, but it should further be established if the transaction is subject to the payment of VAT or transfer duty to SARS.

When an immovable property is transferred, either VAT or transfer duty is payable. To determine whether VAT or transfer duty is payable one should look at the status of the seller and the type of transaction.

VAT

If the seller is registered for VAT (Vendor) and he sells the property in the cause of his business, VAT will be payable to SARS. A vendor is a person who runs a business and whose total taxable earnings per year exceed R1 000 000. He will then have to be registered for VAT. A further stipulation is that the property that is being sold must be related to his business from which he derives an income.

The Offer to Purchase should stipulate whether the purchase price includes or excludes VAT. If the Offer to Purchase makes no mention of the payment of VAT and the seller is a VAT vendor, it is then deemed that VAT is included and the seller will have to pay 14% of the Purchase price to SARS. It is the seller’s responsibility to pay the VAT to SARS, except if the contract stipulates otherwise.

When a seller is not registered for VAT, but the purchaser is a registered VAT vendor, the purchaser will still pay transfer duty but can claim the transfer duty back from SARS after registration of the property.

Transfer duty

When the seller is not a registered VAT vendor it is almost certain that transfer duty will be payable on the transaction. A purchaser is responsible for payment of the transfer duty. Transfer duty is currently payable on the following scale:

  1. The first R600 000 of the value is exempted from transfer duty.
  2. Thereafter transfer duty is levied at 3% of the value up to R1 000 000.
  3. From R1 000 001 to R1 500 000, transfer duty will be R12 000 plus 5% on the value above R1 000 000.
  4. On R1 500 001 and above transfer duty is R37 000 plus 8% of the value above R1 500 000.

Transfer duty payable by an individual or a legal entity (trust, company or close corporation) is currently charged at the same rate.

Transfer duty is levied on the reasonable value of the property, which will normally be the purchase price, but should the market value be higher than the purchase price, transfer duty will be payable on the highest amount. Transfer duty is payable within six months from the date that the Offer to Purchase was signed.

In instances where a party obtains a property as an inheritance or as the beneficiary of a divorce settlement, the transaction will be exempted from payment of transfer duty.

Where shares in a company or a member’s interest in a close corporation or rights in a trust are transferred, the transaction will be subject to payment of transfer duty if the legal entity is the owner of a residential property.

Zero-rated transactions

This means that VAT will be payable on the transaction but at a zero rate. If both the seller and the purchaser are registered for VAT and the property is sold as a going concern, VAT will be charged at a zero rate, for instance when a farmer sells his farm as well as the cattle and the implements.

Exemption

Transfer duty, and not VAT, will be payable when a seller who is registered for VAT sells a property that was leased for residential purposes.

It is thus important for a purchaser to establish the status of the seller when buying a property. The seller who is registered for VAT should carefully peruse the purchase price clause in a contract before signing, to establish if VAT is included or excluded.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.