Author: Montaque Swanepoel CA (SA)

Budget Speech 2019 Highlights: Tax Raises and an SOE Burden

Before the end of February each year the Finance Minister of South Africa passes a budget speech. In Minister Tito Mboweni‘s maiden budget speech he was left with little fiscal room to manoeuvre.

At CFO360 we like to give you a quick update on the highlights of the budget speech and how it applies to you:

  • No changes to income tax brackets except by raising the tax-free threshold from R78 150 to R79 000. This is an effective tax increase as no inflationary adjustments are made.
  • Carbon Tax to be implemented from 5 June 2019. This will be in the form of a levy on Petrol and Diesel of 9c and 5c respectively, effective 5 June 2019.
  • Fuel and Road Accident Levies of 15c per litre and 5 c per litre respectively, effective 3 April 2019.
  • The usual increase of excise taxes on Tobacco and Alcohol Products
  • White Bread Flour, Cake flour and Sanitary Pads will be Zero-rated for VAT purposes from 1 April 2019.
  • ETI will be increased from 1 March 2019

As has been said the Finance Minister Tito Mboweni was effectively between a rock and a hard place. With an election coming up in May 2019, there was no expectation of any major changes, and certainly not any tax increases on the consumer or significant cuts on the Governments expenditure.

However, by not increasing the effective tax bracket income bands the Finance Minister has handed all income earners in South Africa an effective inflationary tax increase of 4.7%(4.7% on the tax you currently pay, not 4.7% on income) for all but the lowest earners who were given a mere 1.1% of relief.

As has been discussed over the last couple of years, government has finally implemented a Carbon Tax. This will be in the form of a Fuel levy, for all intents and purposes the same as the General Fuel levy as this will be paid for by each and every consumer directly or indirectly.

On the spending side the Government has managed to eke out R50.3 billion of spending reductions, mainly from compensation related adjustments. I suspect the government will have their work cut out dealing with the powerful Labour factions in South Africa to bring those cuts to fruition.

Finally, the Finance Minister has had to made some significant allocations to Eskom, the state Utility amounting R69 billion as well as an additional R6 billion to other SEO’s. While a hard pill to swallow, this is a necessary allocation and as country, South Africa needs a reliable electricity supply.

All in we have been given a budget with inflationary increases, but thankfully combined with a cut in Government spending. We have not been given any tax surprises such as higher capital gains or estate taxes.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your accountant directly.

For the full budget information you can follow the following links:

If you have any general queries, do not hesitate to contact us.

Xero User Interface (UX) Update – The navigation bar we’ve been waiting for to do beautiful business

Xero UX changes

Xero User Interface (UX) Update – The navigation bar we’ve been waiting for to do beautiful business.

Recently Xero had their quarterly update webinar where they showcased all their new developments within the accounting software and give us ( the accountants & small business owners of course) a sneak peak of the exciting things that lie ahead. Most Xero updates will stay unnoticed to the untrained eye, but this time around it’s not the same case as it will be hard to miss the changes center of navigation.

Xero navigation changes, Xero UX changes, Xero interface changes, Xero Interface

The new improved layout has been made available by the Xero team in the Demo Company from the 13th of November 2018 to preview and get used to.  We’ve been told that we can expect a global release on 27 November 2018 on all working organisations.  This will likely be on a rolling release.


So…What changes have been made?

The first change you will notice is the Navigation Bar.  From a first glance it’s clear that some headings have been removed and renamed. The nav bar’s headings have been simplified and have grouped together functions that make more sense and are easier to find.  Our only comment, as accountants, is that it now takes 2 clicks to switch to the last company we’ve been working on but for the average user this is certainly a cleaner and more user-friendly interface.

Old Navigation Bar:

Xero navigation changes, Xero UX changes, Xero interface changes, Xero Interface

New Navigation Bar:

Xero navigation changes, Xero UX changes, Xero interface changes, Xero Interface

Although the two look different the majority of functions have stayed the same except for the following:


Xero navigation changes, Xero UX changes, Xero interface changes, Xero Interface

The business tab will be used mostly by the small business owner themselves grouping together all the functions that they will mainly use e.g Invoices, Quotes, Sales overview, Bills to pay, Purchase orders, Purchases overview, expense claims, products and services (previously called inventory) and pay run.



Xero navigation changes, Xero UX changes, Xero interface changes, Xero Interface

Accountants and advisors will spend most of their time here with reporting, bank accounts and advanced settings/functions conveniently located in one location to help with your accounting services.

Xero navigation changes, Xero UX changes, Xero interface changes, Xero Interface

Organisation Menu:

Xero navigation changes, Xero UX changes, Xero interface changes, Xero Interface

Within the organisational menu on the top left corner you will find all your organisations, organisational settings, inbox, app market place and your Xero menus.

Why have these changes been made?

Xero continuously tries to make our accounting experience better to make our lives more productive and efficient. Although the changes aren’t too different they believe that it will reduce time to find our way around Xero and help new users to learn faster.

Still don’t know what to expect? Give the Demo Company a quick try to familiarize yourself with the changes before they roll out in your organisation.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the new Xero User Interface. Let us know below.

2018 Budget Speech Highlights

In this budget summary we give you a quick update on the main budget highlights made during today’s budget speech by Minister Gigaba:

  • VAT rate increase from 14% to 15% effective 1 April 2018
  • Estate Duty Rate increases from 20% to 25% on dutiable amount of estates above R30 million
  • Donations tax rate increases from 20% to 25% on donations of more than R30 million
  • Effective Personal income tax increases by not providing full relief for inflation
  • Increased Sin Taxes on Tobacco and Alcohol
  • General Fuel Levy increase by 22c per litre
  • Road Accident Fund Levey increase by 30c per litre

The budget once again focussed on additional taxes from the more well off members of our society with the expected increase in the VAT rate given the amounts of deficits to sourced by our government. Some important cuts in government spending will also be made with some large spending especially in the provision of fee-free higher education.

For the full budget speech the following useful links can be followed on the website of the national treasury:

Of course, as your trusted provider we will ensure to continually keep you compliant on these items and ensure that the VAT rate adjustment is made for you to continue working seamlessly from 1 April 2018 onwards.  If you have any queries on how this will affect You and Your business, please feel free to contact your accountant directly.


budget speech

Budget Speech 2017 Highlights: Tax Raises and Fiscal Spend Increases

budget speech 2017, 2017 budget speech


With the budget speech having passed Minister Gordhan surprised few with tax raises. What did surprise was where these taxes have been raised: Mainly in a new tax bracket for high earners and a corresponding increase in the dividend tax rate. The usual culprits were there – Fuel Levy, Sin Taxes and there are some new proposed taxes that will come through in the following year in the form of a carbon tax and a tax on sugary beverages.


As of 1 March 2017 the effective tax rate for profits increases from 38.8% to 42.4%.  Furthermore with the further proposed taxes on the horizon the Tax to GDP ratio looks set to balloon to over 30% placing us firmly in the top ten worldwide on this measure.


Through the current tax increases the fiscus stands to raise an additional R28.4bn, however, it’s worth noting that the increase in unlawful expenditure (ie irregular, unapproved and wasteful expenditure) has escalated by 80% placing this at a R20bn increase to R48bn.  The Minister could very well have funded two thirds of the required increase by bringing this under control or have funded the entire deficit by reducing this figure significantly.  While this is no easy task it will become increasingly difficult to convince South Africans to continue contributing more to the fiscus when close to 4% of the budget is irregularly spent each year.


With a small concentration of South African taxpayers contributing more than 50% of total taxes collected one can only wonder whether moral apprehension will increase or whether high earning individuals will look to greener, less taxed pastures, to earn their income.  If this is the case, the intended increase in collections may very well decrease overall tax collections.


What does this mean for you as as a business owner?

  1. Following today, were you to be a high income earner (more than R1.5m per annum), your marginal tax rate has increased to 45% from 41% previously.
  2. The Dividends Tax rate increased to 20% – to avoid any arbitrage.
  3. The general fuel levy has increased by 30 cents per litre and 9 cents per litre on the road accident fund.
  4. A 6% to 10% increase in sin taxes.


In the coming months, the effect of these increases will be felt in every business, especially as fuel increases often have a knock on effect on the inflationary indexes.  The coming months will also be as good a time as any to watch costs and try reduce the growth in these numbers in your business as far as possible.


As with any increases in tax this may also be a good time to consider reinvesting funds within your business or group to delay taxes as far as possible down the line.


Lastly, it is also a good idea to ensure your salary does not increase above R1.5m.  Past this point it’s advisable to rather declare your income in the form of dividends as your marginal tax rate could be 42.4% rather than 45%.  There is also a further saving of 1% in your business on SDL bringing the potential saving on dividends above this level to 3.6%.


If you have any question on the latest 2017 budget please send them our way and we’ll be happy to answer them.

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Accounting for Landlords using Xero

accounting for landlords, xeroAccounting for Landlords

for Property owners is a necessary yet challenging task.  The level of accounting for landlords or property owners that is needed is often minimal and often with these investments being passive investments the time available by the owner is minimal.  The time that can be needed to stay ahead of this administration can be significant however, and in the past, given the lack of tools to simplify this task, has been a manual and tedious task. Enter Xero.  With Xero you can take advantage of cloud accounting technology to simplify and automate your administrative tasks and have always up-to-date information on your portfolio.
Below are just some of the many steps in the process that can be automated and greatly simplified by the use of Cloud Accounting Software such as Xero:

  1. Secure and Automatic import of Bank Data for all accounts (Bank Accounts, Credit Cards and even Mortgages) – No more manual entry.
  2. Create Bank Rules to Auto Allocate recurring transactions
  3. Automatically send monthly invoices and statements to tenants
  4. Automatically follow up on overdue rental payments at predefined points in time or even reminders for specific tenants
  5. Always Up-to-Date Summary or Rental Income, Major Expenses, Mortgage Liabilities and Equity
  6. The ability of saving Rental Contracts and all expense documentation in your accounting software to remain tax compliant
  7. Where reporting is necessary per property, tracking codes can be set up to report individually.
  8. Giving You, and your Accountant, access to the system from anywhere and on any device with an Internet connection.


See below for a general overview of the benefits of using Xero


At CFO360 we can assist you with either an initial set up, compliance only or complete accounting solutions using award winning Xero Accounting software for your Property Portfolio.  With fixed-price monthly packages you can rest assured that all your compliance and reporting will be taken care of with the least amount of effort from your side.


Want to find out more or get a live presentation?  


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Medical Practice Outsourced Accounting services

Medical Practice Accounting, Medical practice accounts outsourcingWhen working with CFO360 you’re working with a firm that understands how a medical practice operates on a daily basis. As a medical professional you want the most efficient practice accounting and operational workflow at the lowest cost.  We can assist with comprehensive and unique outsourced accounting services.


A typical Medical Accounting and Workflow solution may look as follows:

  • Comprehensive Accounting Software using Xero
  • Monthly insightful Management reporting to the practitioner
  • All tax and compliance return submissions
  • Automatic Overdue Account follow ups
  • Integration with a Point of Sale solution (POS)
  • Giving clients the ability to settle their accounts online
  • Automatic client reminder emails and sms’s
  • Time scheduling software that integrates with your accounting software with ease
  • Inventory management for dispensary

Our Services include the following:

Medical Practice Accounting Services

Consider outsourcing all or part of your accounting tasks to CFO360 so that you have more time to work with your patients.  We will ensure that this is seamless monthly process providing you with all the information you need.


Tax Preparation and Planning

In addition to preparing your taxes at year end, we’ll assist as far as possible with pro-active tax saving strategies.


Practice Management and Workflow

Understanding the intricacies of how a practice runs means we can assist in developing financial and operational controls to simplify your bookkeeping and operational processes.


Medical Audits

CFO360 can perform annual medical practice audits should this be required.


To provide the practitioner with a simplified billing our accounting services are structured on a monthly fixed fee basis for a comprehensive combination of the above services.

We invite all doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, cardiologists, oncologists, radiologists and other specialists to contact us for a no obligation consultation.


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SARS Tax Clearance Certificates – CFO360

The end of Tax Clearance Certificates?  New Tax Compliance Certificate process implemented by SARS

On 18 April 2016 the South African Revenue Service rolled out phase 3 of its enhanced tax clearance certificate process.  In the past all avenues to obtaining a Tax Clearance Certificate for tenders or in general led to having to go to a SARS branch to obtain a print of the clearance certificate.  With the new procedure the entities tax status can be verified online by the Third Party.


tcc, tax clearance certificate, clearance certificate, Tax clearance certificate sars, my compliance profile
New Compliance Dashboard

This is a definite improvement over the previous system and should ease the burden of obtaining tax clearance certificates on entities.  The new system also introduces a handy dashboard which supplies an overview of all items that currently indicate the entity as non compliant with SARS.  Anothe handly functionality to the taxpayer is the ability to see who has viewed their status online and allowing the taxpayers to allocate payments themselves, and challenge the status given by SARS.


Who's viewed my Status?, tax clearance certificate
Who’s viewed my Status?

The main process by which tax clearance certificates will now be verified is by supplying an institution with a PIN  in order to verify the taxpayers status online but it appear the third party will need to have access to SARS Efiling to verify the tax compliance status of the entity.  Entities without an EFiling profile will presumable have to gain access to EFiling before they can verify the status of a third party.  The online verification gives the verifier the ability to enter Tender amounts and duration for tenders awarded though it is unclear how this information will be used.  An online document can be printed by the third party to denote the status at the time of verifying.


SARS has issue a comprehensive guide to the new system that can be found here.
At CFO360 we can assist you with obtaining a SARS Tax Clearance Certificate with the least amount of hassle.

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