Author: Courts of South Africa

South Africa vs Levi Strauss SA (PTY) LTD, April 2021, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No (509/2019) [2021] ZASCA 32

South Africa vs Levi Strauss SA (PTY) LTD, April 2021, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No (509/2019) [2021] ZASCA 32
Levi Strauss South Africa (Pty) Ltd, has been in a dispute with the African Revenue Services, over import duties and value-added tax (VAT) payable by it in respect of clothing imports. The Levi’s Group uses procurement Hubs in Singapore and Hong Kong but channeled goods via Mauritius to South Africa, thus benefiting from a favorable duty protocol between Mauritius and South Africa. Following an audit, the tax authorities issued an assessment in which it determined that the place of origin certificates issued in respect of imports from countries in the South African Development Community (SADC) and used to clear imports emanating from such countries were invalid, and therefore disentitled Levi SA from entering these goods at the favorable rate of zero percent duty under the Protocol on Trade in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region (the Protocol). The tax authorities also determined that the ... Read more

South Africa vs ABSA bank, March 2021, High Court, Case No 2019/21825

South Africa vs ABSA bank, March 2021, High Court, Case No 2019/21825
During FY 2014 – 2018 a South African company, ABSA, on four occasions bought tranches of preference shares in another South African company, PSIC 3. This entitled ABSA to dividends. The dividends received from PSIC 3 by ABSA were declared as tax free. The income in PSIC 3 was based on dividend payments on preference shares it owned in another South African company, PSIC 4. The income in PSIC 4 was from a capital outlay to an off shore trust, D1 Trust. The trust then lent money to MSSA, a South African subsidiary of the Macquarie Group, by means of subscribing for floating rate notes. The D1 Trust made investments by way of the purchase of Brazilian Government bonds. It then derived interest thereon. In turn, PSIC 4 received interest on its capital investment in D1 Trust. The South African Revenue Service held that ABSA ... Read more

South Africa vs ABC (PTY) LTD, January 2021, Tax Court of Johannesburg, Case No IT 14305

South Africa vs ABC (PTY) LTD, January 2021, Tax Court of Johannesburg, Case No IT 14305
ABC Ltd is in the business of manufacturing, importing, and selling chemical products. It has a catalyst division that is focused on manufacturing and selling catalytic converters (catalysts) which is used in the abatement of harmful exhaust emissions from motor vehicles. To produce the catalysts, applicant requires, inter alia, some metals known as the Precious Group of Metals (PGMs). It purchases the PGMs from a Swiss entity (“the Swiss Entity”). The PGMs are liquified and mixed with other chemicals to create coating for substrates, all being part of the manufacturing process. Once the manufacturing is complete, the catalysts are sold to customers in South Africa known as the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). ABC Ltd and the Swiss Entity are connected parties as defined in section 1 of the ITA. Following an audit carried out in 2014 the revenue service issued an assessment for FY 2011 ... Read more

South Africa vs Sasol Oil, November 2018, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No 923/2017

South Africa vs Sasol Oil, November 2018, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No 923/2017
The South African Supreme Court of Appeal, by a majority of the court, upheld an appeal against the decision of the Tax Court, in which it was held that contracts between companies in the Sasol Group of companies, for the supply of crude oil by a company in the Isle of Man to a group company in London, and the on sale of the same crude oil to Sasol Oil (Pty) Ltd in South Africa, were simulated transactions. As such, the Tax Court found that the transactions should be disregarded by the Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service, and that the Commissioner was entitled to issue additional assessments for the 2005, 2006 and 2007 tax years. On appeal, the Court considered all the circumstances leading to the conclusion of the impugned contracts, the terms of the contracts, the evidence of officials of Sasol Oil, ... Read more

South Africa vs. Crookes Brothers Ltd, May 2018, High Court, Case No 14179/2017 ZAGPHC 311

South Africa vs. Crookes Brothers Ltd, May 2018, High Court, Case No 14179/2017 ZAGPHC 311
A South African parent company, Crookes Brothers Ltd, owned 99% of the shares in a subsidiary in Mozambique, MML. Crookes Brothers and MML entred into a loan agreement. According to the agreements MML would not be obliged to repay the loan in full within 30 years. Furthermore, repayment of the loan would not take place if the market value of the assets of MML were less than the market value of its liabilities as of the date of the payment, and no interest would accrue or be payable. According to clause 7 of the loan agreement, in the event of liquidation or bankruptcy of MML, the loan would immediately become due and payable to Crookes Brothers. At the time of submitting the 2015 income tax return, Crookes Brothers made an adjustment to its taxable income in terms of section 31(2) and (3) on the basis that an arms-length interest rate should apply. Later, Crookes ... Read more

South Africa vs Crookes Brothers LTD, May 2018, High Court, Case no 14179/2017

South Africa vs Crookes Brothers LTD, May 2018, High Court, Case no 14179/2017
Agricultural group Crookes Brothers Ltd issued loans to its Mozambican subsidiary and in accordance with the terms of the loan, the group made transfer pricing adjustments to its taxable income. Later on, Crookes Brothers Ltd requested the tax administration to issue a reduced assessments, claiming that the adjustments were made in error. They argued, that the terms of the loan were aligned with the requirements of section 31(7) of the Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962 (the Act), which would exempt the loan from application of transfer pricing rules. To support the claim, Crookes Brothers Ltd provided the tax administration with the loan agreements. The tax administrations  concluded that the terms of the loan agreements were not aligned with the requirements of section 31(7) of the Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962 (the Act). The loan agreement had a clause that accelerated the debt in ... Read more

South Africa vs Sasol, 30 June 2017, Tax Court, Case No. TC-2017-06 – TCIT 13065

South Africa vs Sasol, 30 June 2017, Tax Court, Case No. TC-2017-06 - TCIT 13065
The taxpayer is registered and incorporated in the Republic of South Africa and carries on business in the petrochemical industry. It has some of its subsidiaries in foreign jurisdictions. Business activities include the importation and refinement of crude oil. This matter concerns the analysis of supply agreements entered into between the XYZ Corp and some of its foreign subsidiaries. It thus brings to fore, inter alia the application of the South African developing fiscal legal principles, namely, residence based taxation, section 9D of the Income Tax Act 58 of 1962 and other established principles of tax law, such as anti-tax avoidance provisions and substance over form. Tax avoidance is the use of legal methods to modify taxpayer’s financial situation to reduce the amount of tax that is payable SARS’s ground of assessment is that the XYZ Group structure constituted a transaction, operation or scheme as ... Read more

South Africa vs. AB LLC and BD Holdings LLC, May 2015, Tax Court, Case No: 13276

South Africa vs. AB LLC and BD Holdings LLC, May 2015, Tax Court, Case No: 13276
US companies, AB LLC and BD Holdings LLC, came to South Africa in 2007 to perform certain services for X, a company based in and operating from South Africa. To perform these services they concluded a contract with X. There only purpose for coming to South Africa was to perform the services and earn income or profits in terms of the contract. Having achieved this objective they left the country in 2008. Furthermore in 2009 they recieved a succes bonus for the work performed in 2007 and 2008. On 14 June 2011 they were assessed for taxation purposes for the 2007, 2008 and 2009 years by the Revenue Service. The total taxable amount for these years, although only earned during the period February 2007 to May 2008, according to the respondent, was R 63.990.639. The assessment was based on the provisions of Articles 7(1), 5(1) ... Read more

South Africa vs MTN International Ltd (Mauritius), Marts 2014, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No. 275/2013 [2014] ZASCA 8

South Africa vs MTN International Ltd (Mauritius), Marts 2014, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No. 275/2013 [2014] ZASCA 8
The issue before the Supreme Court of Appeal was whether a tax assessment issued by the Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service (SARS), in terms of the Income Tax Act 58 of 1962, for the year 2006 were to be set aside. MTN International Ltd had claimed interest deductions on loans it had incurred as expenditure against its gross income for the year of assessment. On 31 March 2011, which was the last day before the original assessment by SARS was due to prescribe, SARS issued a revised assessment, disallowing deduction of the interest expenditure. The tax assessment resulted in an income tax liability of R 73.476.101 of MTN International Ltd. When issuing the tax assessment the officer at SARS manually fixed the ‘due date’ as 30 March 2011, being one day prior to the day on which the assessment was actually issued. MTN ... Read more

South Africa vs. Tradehold Ltd, May 2012, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No. 132/11

South Africa vs. Tradehold Ltd, May 2012, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No. 132/11
Tradehold is an investment holding company, incorporated in South Africa, with its registered office at 36 Stellenberg Road, Parow, Industria, and is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. During the tax year under consideration, being the year of assessment ended 28 February 2003, Tradehold’s only relevant asset was its 100 per cent shareholding in Tradegro Holdings which, in turn, owned 100 per cent of the shares in Tradegro Limited, a company incorporated in Guernsey which owned approximately 65 per cent of the issued share capital in the UK-based company, Brown & Jackson plc. On 2 July 2002, at a meeting of Tradehold’s board of directors in Luxembourg, it was resolved that all further board meetings would be held in that country. This had the effect that, as from 2 July 2002, Tradehold became effectively managed in Luxembourg. It nevertheless remained a ‘resident’ in the Republic ... Read more

South Africa vs. NWK LtD, Dec. 2010, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No. 27/10

South Africa vs. NWK LtD, Dec. 2010, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No. 27/10
Over a period of five years, from 1999 to 2003, the respondent, NWK Ltd, claimed deductions from income tax in respect of interest paid on a loan to it by Slab Trading Company (Pty) Ltd (Slab), a subsidiary of First National Bank (FNB), in the sum of R 96.415.776. The deductions were allowed. But in 2003 the appellant, the Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service, issued new assessments disallowing the deductions and refusing to remit any part of the interest on the amounts assessed. He also imposed additional tax and interest in terms of ss 76 and 89quat of the Income Tax Act 58 of 1962. The amount claimed pursuant to the additional assessments, including additional tax, was R 47.360.583. The basis of the revised assessments by the Commissioner was that the loan was not a genuine contract: it was part of a series ... Read more

South Africa vs. BP Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd, March 2007, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No 60 / 06, 2007-07

South Africa vs. BP Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd, March 2007, Supreme Court of Appeal, Case No 60 / 06, 2007-07
the Supreme Court of Appeal held that royalty payments are tax deductible in terms of s 11(a) of the Income Tax Act. It accordingly upheld an appeal by BP Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd against a judgment of the Income Tax Special Court. During 1997 BP Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd concluded a written trade mark licence agreement with its parent company BP plc in terms whereof it was granted authorisation to use and display the licensed marks and licensed marketing indicia of the latter against payment of royalties. For the tax years 1997, 1998 and 1999 the royalty fee payments were respectively R 40.190.000, R 45.150.000 and R 42.519.000. BP Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd subsequently claimed those payments as deductions in terms of section 11(a) of the Income Tax Act 58 of 1962 in the determination of its taxable income. The South African Revenue Services disallowed ... Read more

South Africa vs. B SA Limited, Aug 2005, Tax Court, Case No. 11454

South Africa vs. B SA Limited, Aug 2005, Tax Court, Case No. 11454
B SA Limited was incorporated in South Africa 9 May 1924. C plc is the controlling shareholder of the company. On 24 October 1979 B SA Limited amended paragraph 1 of its memorandum of association by adding the following to it: The corporate name “B SA Limited” is adopted and used by permission of (C) Limited. On withdrawal of that permission B SA Limited will cease to use such name and will immediately change its corporate name and trading name so that neither includes the mark (B) or any trade mark, trade name, name or other mark of ownership belonging to (C) Company Limited, or any other trade mark, trade name, name or other mark of ownership likely to be confused therewith. During 1996 C plc decided that users of its licensed marks and the licensed marketing indicia should be required to pay a royalty ... Read more