Gordhan urged to simplify taxation system

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PravinGordhan2 Independent Newspapers Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Photo: Neil Baynes

Simplify the tax system, cut government debt and focus on job creation.

These were some of the key elements on the “wish lists” of economists and opposition parties for Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s Budget tomorrow.

Describing the tax system as “extremely complicated”, at least three leading economists called for an overhaul leading to a number of taxes being dumped.

The DA called for an overhaul of the taxation system and a realignment of expenditure priorities aimed at putting South Africa on a path of job-creating growth.

DA finance spokesman Tim Harris highlighted a number of policies to support 12 strategic focus areas of the National Development Plan and to respond to the concerns of credit rating agencies.

These included a reduction in government debt to levels close to 35 percent of GDP in the long term through an aggressive process of fiscal consolidation; recovering nearly R30 billion in revenue by streamlining the government and stamping out public sector corruption; and boosting the job creation potential of small businesses through a stimulus package, including R9.4bn in tax cuts and R3.7bn in additional support programmes.

The DA repeated its call for implementation of a youth wage subsidy.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa called for action on infrastructure development.

“Hopefully the minister will come up with a map and timeframes for this infrastructural development. The only infrastructural programme we have seen recently is the building of highways and stadiums for 2010,” he said.

Cope MP Nic Koornhof said his party’s main wish was to avoid a “surprise budget”.

“Second, the minister must concentrate on changing domestic sentiment about South Africa. We want to make sure that companies, which sit on almost R700bn savings, are happy to invest.”

Koornhof added: “We will definitely not support any tax hikes.”

ACDP finance spokesman Steve Swart said the most pressing item on the party’s wish list was to see the budget deficit reduced.

“It has a major impact on the spiralling state debt levels and the debt service costs, which are crowding out funds being made available for service delivery.”

Swart called for steps to reduce government spending by addressing widespread corruption and irregular and wasteful expenditure.

 

IFP MP Mario Ambrosini called for cuts in spending in “non-essential fields”. He also called for the elimination of a broad range of subsidies to industry which resulted in a lack of productivity and competitiveness.

Chris Hart, chief strategist at Investment Solutions, said he wanted a move towards tax simplicity.

“I would like to see an end to some of the so-called nuisance taxes, which don’t raise revenue, but which cause endless administrative hassles, such as capital gains tax.” - The Mercury



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