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The impact of the South African tax system on small and medium sized enterprises

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. K. Jordaan en_US
dc.contributor.author Booysen, Naomi
dc.date.accessioned 2012-08-16T06:11:55Z
dc.date.available 2012-08-16T06:11:55Z
dc.date.issued 2012-08-16
dc.date.submitted 1997-04
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/5874
dc.description M.Comm. en_US
dc.description.abstract Since the April 1994 elections the issue of economic empowerment and growth have had a high priority on the agenda of the Government of National Unity of South Africa. Small and medium enterprises (SME's) represent an important vehicle to address the challenges of job creation, economic growth and equity in our country. Throughout the world one finds that SME's are playing a critical role in absorbing labour, penetrating new markets and generally expanding economies in creative and innovative ways. Research indicates that there are more than 800 000 small and medium enterprises in South Africa, absorbing about a quarter of the approximately 15 million people which comprises the formal labour force. According to the White Paper on National Strategy for the Development and Promotion of Small Business in South Africa (1995:10), this does not include about 3,5 million people who are involved in some or other type of survivalist enterprise activity force. While the importance of large industrial, mining and other enterprises for the growth of the economy cannot be denied, there is ample evidence that the labour absorptive capacity of the small business sector is high, with the average capital cost per job created in this sector, usually being lower than in big businesses. In addition the small business sector's role in technical and other innovations is vital for the many challenges facing the South African economy. Notwithstanding the importance of small enterprises in the South African economy, they are still faced with a wide range of constraints and problems that are common to small enterprises. There can be no doubt that compared to big businesses in South Africa and small businesses in other countries, these problems have not been sufficiently addressed. The constraints relate, amongst others, to the legal and regulatory environment confronting SME's, the access to markets, finance, the acquisition of skills and management expertise and in some cases, the tax burden. This study will be aimed at addressing the problems that small enterprises experience with the South African Tax System. The dissertation is based on various Acts as effective during April 1997. Various factors were identified in the Interim Report of the Commission of Inquiry into certain aspects of the Tax Structure of South Africa, (Katz, November 1994:150) under the chairmanship of Prof. M.M. Katz. These factors include, amongst others, the following: Small and medium-sized enterprises have a greater dependence on the working proprietor as a source of funds, since they do not have access to public securities markets for the issue of equity or long term loan capital. The taxation of the income of the working proprietor therefore directly depletes their principal source of equity capital, requiring the entrepreneur to make greater use of short term debt finance. This in turn increases their risk exposure; Whereas savings which flow via financial institutions (for example, through pension and life insurance contributions) to the corporate sector enjoys tax relief, no equivalent relief is available to working proprietors who invest in their own businesses; There is considerable evidence that the compliance burden of taxation falls disproportionately on smaller enterprises, who do not have expertise in the completion of tax returns or in other aspects of tax compliance, and either make use of expensive professional assistance or rely on the proprietor's own efforts. The compliance burden is aggravated by frequent changes in the tax system, complicated structures and rules, and the lack of taxpayer education opportunities. The problem of the compliance burden on smaller enterprises has probably become more severe in recent years as a consequence of the introduction of Value Added Tax and the fact Jiat the present Standard Income Tax on Employees personal income tax requires more detailed personnel records than the former Final Deduction System which it replaced; The general bias in tax systems towards favouring capital investment and penalising employment through investment relief and social security contributions tends to favour large firms, which have easier access to sources of capital, and discriminates against smaller firms which tend to be more labour intensive. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Income tax -- South Africa en_US
dc.subject Value-added tax -- South Africa en_US
dc.subject Business enterprises -- Taxation -- South Africa en_US
dc.title The impact of the South African tax system on small and medium sized enterprises en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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