oa Meditari : Research Journal of the School of Accounting Sciences - Digitised products : how compliant is South African value-added tax?

Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1022-2529



E-commerce has changed the way in which business is conducted. One instance of this is that it has made the digitisation of products possible. This shift has severe implications for traditional consumption taxes, which were developed under the premise of a physical presence in a tax jurisdiction. A large number of countries in the world that impose Value-Added Tax (VAT) on the supply of goods and services, including South Africa, are affected by this shift. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has suggested a number of principles that should apply to consumption taxes in e-commerce. These principles are intended to provide fiscal climates in which e-commerce can flourish and ensure taxation systems that secure individual countries' tax bases. A comparison between the OECD principles and the rules pertaining to the imposition of VAT in South Africa on the supply of digitised products reveals several discrepancies and uncertainties. A baseline survey among VAT specialists in South Africa, conducted in order to substantiate these findings, confirmed these discrepancies and uncertainties in practice.

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