Treasury extends deadline for comment on new tax proposals

21st January 2022 By: Darren Parker - Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

The National Treasury has provided deadline extensions for public comment on three discussion documents that were published on December 15.

Owing to the comment period falling partially over the holiday period when many businesses were closed and, consequently, with numerous requests for extension being received, the deadline for public comments was extended from January 25 to February 7.

The first of the three documents referred to was: “What is the Most Appropriate Tax Regime for the Oil and Gas Industry? Tax Policy Discussion Paper for Public Comment”.

This document aimed to evaluate whether the tax regime for the upstream petroleum industry, within the wider fiscal policy context, was suitably designed to create a balance between attracting investment and generating an appropriate level of government revenue, while simultaneously enabling South Africa to achieve its commitments in respect of climate change.

The paper reviewed the tax treatment of oil and gas activities as first announced in the 2019 Budget Review.

The paper followed the tabling of the Upstream Petroleum Resources Development (UPRD) Bill in Parliament on July 1, 2021, by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe. It provided an update on government’s thinking regarding the tax regime for oil and gas – relative to 2006 when it was first introduced into the Income Tax Act, and before the adoption of climate change policies.

The second document to receive an extension for comment was titled: “Reviewing the Design, Implementation and Impact of South Africa’s Research and Development Tax Incentive”.

This document sought to revisit the tax incentive implemented by government to encourage private sector companies to invest in scientific or technological research and development (R&D) in South Africa. This incentive was implemented under Section 11D of the Income Tax Act and has evolved since its introduction in 2006.

The incentive provided government support for business sector R&D and aimed to significantly reduce the cost of R&D for private sector companies.

The incentive, however, has a sunset date set for September 30, 2022.

To ensure policy certainty, government published the document with an aim to indicate in advance of the deadline whether the incentive will proceed and, if so, in what form.

The third and final document to receive an extension of the deadline for comment was titled: “Taxation of Electronic Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems – Discussion Paper”.

In this document, government aimed to define an appropriate taxation policy for what is commonly referred to as vaping products. These products are battery-powered devices that do not burn or use tobacco leaves but instead vaporise e-liquid solutions to create an aerosol, which the user then inhales. Innovations surrounding these products and their use are ongoing.

In the document, government proposes that a specific excise tax on these products would be appropriate.