Fewer businesses than expected have taken advantage of tax relief

The National Treasury offices in Pretoria.
The National Treasury offices in Pretoria.
Image: RUSSELL ROBERTS

Fewer South African businesses than expected have taken advantage of tax relief measures put in place due to Covid-19, and these measures may be extended by a month or two, Treasury deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat told Business Day TV on Wednesday.

The Treasury raised the possibility of an extension during a joint meeting of parliament’s two finance committees on Tuesday, saying an extension would depend on the duration of SA’s lockdown.

“We've looked at some of our early numbers, these were numbers that we projected, and we noticed that the amounts that people have deferred are not as much as we had anticipated,” Momoniat said on Wednesday. “I don't know why companies are not taking this up.”

Momoniat said on Wednesday the Treasury had not gone into detail on the issue and numbers were preliminary. The Treasury was looking at the deferrals in place, and to what extent they should be extended.

The tax relief measures introduced by the government included the deferral of pay-as-you-earn payments between April 1 and July 31; exemption of payment of the skills development levy between April 1 and August 31; expansion of the application of the employment tax incentive for four months from April 1 to end-July; the provision of Covid-19 funds with a tax dispensation similar to those of public benefit organisations from April 1 to July 31; deferrals in the payment of excise duties on alcohol and tobacco products and the fuel levy; and fast-tracking VAT refunds between April 1 and end-July.

With Linda Ensor

Businesses and individuals affected by the Covid-19 pandemic are anxious about what will happen after the loan deferment and interest waivers expire at the end of this month. Government may have to come out with more measures and further extend the timelines to help taxpayers comply with the statutory norms. Treasury deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat spoke to Business Day TV about those plans.


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