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Who is paying the most tax

Personal Finance

The share of taxes paid by individuals in South Africa has been increasingly steadily over the past few years and is likely to reach more than 37 percent in the tax year that begins on March 1, Professor Matthew Lester of the Rhodes Business School says.

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Personal income tax, paid by individuals, has increased from 33.8 percent of all tax revenue collections in the 2010/11 tax year to 36.4 percent in the 2015/16 tax year, Lester says.

The contribution from corporate tax has reduced from 23.6 percent in 2010/11 to 20.3 percent in 2015/16.

Lester says the contribution from personal income tax will go well beyond 37 percent in the 2017/18 tax year. Shohana Mohan, the head of individual and expatriate tax at tax and auditing firm BDO, says in 2018 personal income is forecast to make up just over 46 percent of total tax revenue collections.


Lester says the tax increase for the wealthy is massive, and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is sending a message that he is “hammering the wealthy” in a country that has one of the worst measures of inequality.

The Rhodes professor says you also have to take into account other tax implications for wealthy people – for example, the increase in dividends tax and the 45-percent tax rate for trusts.

There are 13 million registered taxpayers, but only seven million pay tax, Lester says.

If you are earning over R500 000, there are only one million of you in "the club", and you will pay 62 percent of all personal income tax, which is a massive number if you consider that personal income tax is 38 percent of the total pie, he says.

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