n SA Mercantile Law Journal = SA Tydskrif vir Handelsreg - Modernising the 'substance over form' doctrine : : case comment

Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1015-0099
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2185



Taxpayers are entitled to arrange their affairs so as to remain outside the provisions of taxing statutes. However, an attempt that harbours dishonesty can always be challenged by the tax authorities, and the courts will not be deceived by the form of such a transaction. They can examine the true nature of the transaction and attach adequate tax implications to it ( [1982] AC 300; 11 ATR 752; 1920 AD 530; 1927 TPD 162; 1941 AD 369; 1966 (1) SA 405 (A)). This is the essence of the doctrine of substance over form ('the doctrine').

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