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In this page: Accounting Rules | Tax Rates | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework | Standards | Business Practices


Accounting Rules

Tax Year
The tax year begins on 1 March and ends on the final day of February the following year
Accounting Standards
Accounting principles are very strict in South Africa and in accordance with International Accounting Standards Board.
Accounting Regulation Bodies
Accounting Reports
In accordance with international accounting rules, the accounting structure is as follow: the balance sheet, the profit and loss account and the notes to the accounts.  For more information, you can consult the Guide (See pages 24-28) published by the Accounting Standards Board.
Publication Requirements
All the companies must hold their accounts in English, these recordings must include: capital and obligations of the company, the fixed assets register, the incomes, the annual stock report, a summary of the goods sold and bought.
Moreover, they have to produce their annual financial statement. It must contain the balance sheet and the annexes, a report on the incomes with annexes, a report made authenticated by the director, a report made authenticated by the executives and a profit and loss account.
Professional Accountancy Bodies
SAICA , South African Institute of Chartered Accountants
SAIPA , South African Institute of Professional Accountants
Certification and Auditing
The companies have to seek a statutory auditor to conduct an annual audit of the financial health of their organization.
You can consult an external auditor: Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) ; ERNST & YOUNG in South Africa ; KMPG in South Africa ; PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS in South Africa
Accounting News
Accountancy SA
South Africa Accounting News

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Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
VAT = Valued Added Tax (BTW = Belasting op Toegevoegde Waarde in Afrikaans).
Tax Rate
Reduced Tax Rate
Reduced VAT rates range from 0% (on education services, basic foods, diesel fuel and gasoline, export of Goods and Services) up to the standard rate of 14%. For example, VAT on hotels and retirement hostels is charged at 8.4%.
Other Consumption Taxes
Public Benefit Organization under Section 30 of South Africa's Income Tax Act is eligible for exclusion from taxation.

Learn more about Service Providers in South Africa on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
Residents and locally controlled companies are taxed on worldwide income, where as foreign companies (meeting certain criteria are considered non-resident for tax purposes ) are taxed on South African-source income and capital gains on immovable property in South Africa.
Capital Gains Taxation
Charged at the normal income tax rate on 50% of the gain i.e. at 14.5% (except and under specifics conditions gains on the sale of substantial foreign shareholdings).
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Motor vehicle expenses, legal expenses, medical and dental expenses, bad and doubtful debts, and contributions to pension and provident funds and retirement annuities. Lease premiums may be written off for the period of the lease. Municipal rates may also be deducted from taxable income.
Other Corporate Taxes
Capital duty, Payroll tax, Real property tax, Social security, Stamp duty, Transfer tax, Gift tax.
Other Domestic Resources
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  South Africa Sub-Saharan Africa United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 9.0 39.0 11.0 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 200.0 319.0 175.0 207.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 33.3 57.8 46.7 46.8

Source: Doing Business - Last Available Data.

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Individual Taxes

Tax Rate

ZAR 0 to 160,000 18%
ZAR 160,001 to 250,000 25%
ZAR 250,001 to 346,000 30%
ZAR 346,001 to 484,000 35%
ZAR 484,001 to 638,600 38%
ZAR 638,601 and above 40%
Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Medical aid, Contributions to government approved pension and retirement funds, Charitable donations, etc.
Special Expatriate Tax Regime
No special expatriate tax regime exits in South Africa. Expatriates are taxed at the same rates as locals, but only on their South African-sourced income.

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Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
South African Revenue Service
Withholding Taxes
Withholding tax rates for non residents are 15% for dividends, 0% for interest, 15% for royalties and 15% on payments to artists and sportsmen.

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Sources of Fiscal Information

Tax Authorities
South African Revenue Service
Other Domestic Resources
South African Info
South African government online
Statistics South Africa (Stats SA)
South African Revenue Services guides and other publications

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Learn more about Taxes and Accounting in South Africa on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Intellectual Property

National Organizations
The national organization for the protection of trademarks and patents is the CIPC (Companies and Intellectual Property Commission).
Also exist the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law.
South Africa signed the Agreement of Paris for the protection of industrial property, as well as the agreement establishing the World Intellectual property Organization (WIPO).
Regional Organizations
African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO)
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property

National Regulation and International Agreements

Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
Patents Act, 1978.
20 years
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Trade Marks Act, 1993.
10 years Trademark Law Treaty
South African Designs Act 195 of 1993
Aesthetic design:15 years, Functional design:10years  
Copyright Act of 1978
50 years Berne convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Industrial Models
South African Designs Act 195 of 1993

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Legal Framework

Independence of Justice
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Foreign nationals can largely expect impartial trial from the country's judicial system.
The Language of Justice
In any of the official language of South Africa.
Recourse to an Interpreter
Services of an interpreter are available in case the language of the proceedings is not understood by the accused.
Sources of the Law and Legal Similarities
The legal system is based on Roman-Dutch law and English common law.
South African commercial laws and company laws are similar to the laws of the United Kingdom.
Checking National Laws Online
Acts Online
Legislation South Africa

Learn more about Lawyers and Legal in South Africa on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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National Standards Organizations
South African Bureau of Standards (SABS)
Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA)
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
Human Science Research Council (HSRC)
Medicines Control Council (MCC)
Integration in the International Standards Network
SABS is a member of:
- International Standard organization (ISO);
- International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC);
- African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO).
Classification of Standards
SABS Standards
Online Consultation of Standards
SABS Online Standards Webstore
Certification Organizations
SANAS South African National Accreditation System.
SACCI South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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Business Practices

General Information
Communicaid, South African business culture.
Kwintessential, South African culture and custom on the Kwintessential website.
Executiveplanet, South African business culture on the Executiveplanet website.
Opening Hours and Days
Generally, business hours are weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Offices are closed on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, Shops are open till 1.00 p.m. and Banks till 11.00 a.m.

Public Holidays

New Years Day January 1
Human Rights' Day March 21
Good Friday Friday before Easter Sunday
Family Day Monday after Easter Sunday
Freedom Day April 27
Workers' Day May 1
Youth Day June 16
National Women's Day August 9
Heritage Day September 24
Day of Reconciliation December 17
Christmas Day December 25
Day of Goodwill December 26
Holiday Compensation
If a public holiday falls on the week-end, it is shifted to next Monday.

Periods When Companies Usually Close

Christmas time(2-3 days) Dec 25 - 27
New-Year time (1-2 days) Jan 1 - 2
Summer holidays A week between Christmas and the New Year.

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Last Updates: February 2015