Consumers give Gordhan tax wish list

2013-02-25 10:30
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Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will deliver his 2013 Budget speech on February 27.

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.

Education

"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 inattention.

"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.

Graduate tax

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

Domestic workers have also been placed on the agenda by Fin24 users.

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 fulltime basis".

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 thresholds.

"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.

Security

Concerned about safety, user Zaid Mahomed wants Gordhan to investigate a possible tax deduction for payments to security companies like ADT.

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 security.

"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.

Company tax

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.

Tax-free month

Fin24 users also expressed a desire for a tax-free month to be introduced.

"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. 

 - Fin24

* Visit our 2013 Budget section for full coverage of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's National Budget speech.


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