VAT- an introduction by M Botes- reviewed by FWB’s Louis Rood

Globally, Value Added Tax (VAT) has become the most common indirect transaction tax system, since France implemented the first version of a VAT system in 1948. VAT in South Africa currently provides 25.6% of government’s tax revenue.

VAT is levied in terms of the Value-Added Tax Act 89 of 1991 (as amended). It potentially affects everything that happens during the day-to-day operations of the business world. As a result it is a crucial area to understand and master for almost everyone involved in commercial activity.

This practical and useful handbook sets out clearly, logically and in plain language how VAT works, and will be welcomed in any business environment as well as by students and practitioners. Every aspect of VAT is dealt with and explained, from VAT registration to input tax, from the importation of goods and services to VAT returns and payments. A joy in navigating the pages is finding answers to all those pesky questions that crop up, such as exemptions, the export of second-hand goods, inter-group transactions, zero-rated taxable supplies, the position of welfare organisations, dispute resolution, and even detail such as when a motor car is converted to a game-viewing vehicle or a hearse!

Each chapter concludes with a number of pertinent questions to test the reader’s understanding and knowledge of the chapter’s content. Helpful examples are provided, illustrating the principles involved. An extensive glossary explains all the most important terminology and concepts found in VAT law and administration, relevant cases are listed and indexed, and there is a welcome limit to only essential footnotes, making this book readable, accessible and less academic.

The author Marlene Botes B Com(Law), LLB, LLM, and publishers Juta are to be commended for this excellent guide to the mechanics of the South African VAT system and its practical implications.

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