Cape Town - As Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan prepares to
deliver his fourth National Budget speech on February 27, Fin24 users are asking
him for tax deductions on a range of issues from private security to salaries
of domestic workers.
"What about a rebate for parents that homeschool their
children?" wrote Fin24 user Nolani Joubert.
Joubert explained that as a result of attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the amount of pupils in public school
classes, she had to start homeschooling her children.
ADHD refers to a chronic disorder that initially manifests
in childhood and is characterised by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or
"I pay for a tutor each month, as well as all books
myself, and the host school fees. [It] would be a great help if I could get
some of it back at the end of the tax year," said Joubert.
Users Kherusha Moodley and Ameeth Lakhani turned their focus
on the high cost of schooling.
Moodley proposed that schools start providing loan books
again. She noted that "public schools all need new bathroom and toilet facilities
and money to provide schools with good caretakers".
Lakhani made her case regarding private education. "I
think there should be a tax benefit for private schooling being paid," she
wrote, arguing that it reduces the burden on the state.
Despite spending around R190bn from the 2012 budget on
education, the country has one of the lowest literacy rates in Africa according
to the World Economic Forum.
It ranked SA 132nd out of 144 countries for the
quality of primary education and second last for science and maths.
Turning to the controversial issue of graduate tax, user
Peter Dielwart suggested that university graduates get tax incentives once they
enter the employment market. He said this would improve class attendance and
further motivate students to pass.
"These changes will create fiscal value to education,
reducing the drop-out rate and increasing academic quality.
"The long-term benefit is that the overall quality of
education will increase and the skills shortages will become less pronounced over
time," wrote Dielwart.
Domestic workers have also been placed on the agenda by
User Chris Haines suggested that the "government looks
seriously at tax breaks for employers of domestic workers".
User Arthur Broadley concurred. "My tip is
to allow homeowner’s tax relief on the wages paid to domestic staff – this
would encourage more employment of domestics – and would be a drop in the ocean
in terms of tax revenue," he wrote.
Supporting Broadley, user Irene McEnderry stated: "I
suggest that the minister look at giving the taxpayer a full deduction on
domestic worker and gardener wages/salary". She said that this would
create employment for the unskilled labour force.
McEnderry added that the tax break would be a win-win situation, claiming "most
people that retrenched their domestic workers when the minimum wage was
introduced will then r-consider employing domestic workers and gardeners on a
In November, the labour department announced an increased
minimum wage for domestic workers.
Reform tax brackets
There have also been calls for reforms to the tax income
"Please can you lower tax rates for the medium to low
earners?" wrote user Nicole Daniels, while user Gillian Abrahams wants
Gordhan to scrap tax for low earners altogether.
"Teachers, nurses and the police - in the lower
earning categories - should not be taxed. This would increase their take-home
pay and encourage more interest in these professions," wrote Abrahams.
Concerned about safety, user Zaid Mahomed wants Gordhan to
investigate a possible tax deduction for payments to security companies like
User Frikkie Knoetze explained that services such as
security are supposed to be provided by government. "Due to lack of
service delivery we have to provide for ourselves, therefore we should be able
to claim this from taxes."
Trade union Solidarity earlier this month called on the
government to give tax rebates to citizens who pay for their own private
"Government's failure to safeguard citizens against
crime means South Africans invest heavily in security, while at the same time
paying tax," Solidarity deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann told
reporters in Pretoria last week.
"A taxpayer who earns around R300 000 a year, will pay
around R83 000 in income tax. That tax is supposed to finance his or her
security, but now has to pay an additional R10 400 for additional measures to
protect themselves," Hermann added.
Making his case against Secondary Tax on Companies (STC),
user Deena Naidoo proposed that it be cut to around 10%.
"The dividend tax of 15% is too high! People get less
from dividends these days compared to when STC was in place. Dividend tax
should be around 10% please," urged Naidoo.
Fin24 users also expressed a desire for a tax-free month to
"I suggest on our birthday months we get a tax
break," proposed Lindiwe Mhlongo.
User Wimpie Ferreira agreed, asking for a tax-free Christmas
month instead. "How about NO tax to be paid in December?"
Ferreira explained that it would result in fewer people being
trapped into the debt cycle because they would have extra cash for their
holidays, which would see a drop in credit applications in December.
* Visit our 2013 Budget section for full coverage of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's National Budget speech.
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