The effectiveness of the South African double taxation relief provisions for South African companies investing in other African estates.

South Africa has expressed its desire to be the gateway for investment into Africa. With its residence-based tax system which taxes the worldwide income of its tax residents, South African companies will be open to double taxation where the investee country claims jurisdiction to tax income generated from within its borders. In addition, other provisions in the South African tax legislation increase the possibility of double taxation by including the income of foreign subsidiaries. Two such examples are the definition of a tax resident, which includes foreign subsidiaries that are effectively managed by their holding companies in South Africa, and the anti-avoidance measures, such as the controlled foreign company provisions, which impute the income of a foreign subsidiary to the South African investment company. Many South African companies have chosen to route their investments in African countries through foreign subsidiaries. Besides having a more investor-friendly tax regime, these countries offer more favourable relief from double taxation, both unilaterally and by means of their network of tax treaties. South Africa has identified some of its shortcomings. It has introduced concessionary tax provisions for locally based headquarter companies that invest abroad. It recognises the high cost of doing business in Africa due to the fact that many African countries impose withholding taxes on several types of income even though they may not be from a local source. Therefore, South Africa is granting tax rebates for foreign withholding taxes paid on service fees charged to foreign entities despite the income being derived from a South African source. Both these measures reduce double taxation but, are they sufficient to encourage direct investment from South Africa into other African countries? This study seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the South African double taxation relief provisions by using a case study of a South African company that has investments in several African countries. It compares the application of the double taxation relief provisions of South Africa, another African country and a non-African country to the case study. It analyses the outcomes and assesses the effectiveness of South Africa’s current legislation for unilateral tax relief and its tax treaties in minimising double taxation. Finally, it makes some recommendations on possible improvements to the legislation in order to achieve the stated goal of being the financial hub for investment into Africa

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