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On January 24, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) published a revised tax guide on the application of value-added tax (VAT) by vendors in South Africa.
The 151-page publication is said to be a basic guide, which is said to avoid legalese where possible. It is stressed that the guide does not deal with all the legal detail associated with VAT and is not intended for legal reference.
The information in the guide now contains the amendments to the South African Value-Added Tax Act (VAT Act) and the Tax Administration Act that came into effect from January 8 last year.
These include the five-year limit (from the date that the amount became payable) for SARS to issue additional VAT assessments; and a provision that the words "tax invoice," "VAT invoice," or "invoice" must appear on every tax invoice.
Other amendments, which came into effect from April 1, 2016, and are also included in the guide, are the changes made to the VAT Act regarding enterprises that supply commercial accommodation; the documentary proof required to substantiate deductions in the calculation of the tax payable or refundable by a vendor; the confirmation of zero-rating for the supply of certain vocational training services; and the time of supply rules for connected persons and undetermined amounts.
In addition, the guide now includes the removal of the zero-rating for the National Housing Programme, and the expansion to the scope of voluntary registration under exceptional circumstances and for certain business activities.
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