GST 2017

GST/VAT general anti'avoidance approaches: some preliminary findings from a comparative study of Australia and South Africa

Source: Australian Tax Forum Journal Article

Published Date: 1 Jul 2017

 

The goods and services tax (GST) or value-added tax (VAT) is the most rapidly spreading tax in the world. It accounts for a high proportion of tax revenue in both developing and developed countries. Despite its importance, there is a paucity of studies concerning GST/VAT avoidance. This article attempts to contribute to this relatively small body of literature by comparing and evaluating GST/VAT general anti-avoidance approaches in Australia and South Africa. Both countries have a similar common law heritage and adopted a similar GST/VAT model, although the tax commenced at different times in each country and the two taxes have slightly different bases. An examination of the Australian and South African GST/VAT anti-avoidance approaches reveals some interesting findings. The analysis undertaken by the authors suggests that, although there are differences in style in the drafting of the anti-avoidance rules, the effect of each appears to be similar in both countries.

There would appear to be two differences. First, the Australian Commissioner of Taxation has a discretion, if the Commissioner thinks it fair and reasonable, to make a compensating adjustment to the other party to the transaction if that party is disadvantaged by the Commissioner's determination. Second, the do nothing defence which has been negated in Australia may possibly still be available in South Africa.

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Kalmen Datt

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Gerhard Nienaber
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Binh Tran-Nam

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