Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivering his 2013 Budget Speech in the National Assembly, Parliament, Cape Town. 27/02/2013, Elmond Jiyane

Cape Town - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's 2013 Budget was “very forward-looking” in that deadlines were announced for changes in future, a tax expert said on Wednesday.

“Tax payers can breathe a sigh of relief, because overall the status quo remains,” said Willem Oberholzer of tax and advisory firm Grant Thornton Pretoria.

He said the government appeared to be consolidating its position on taxes.

“We've seen tax reforms for at least three years that were very big and this year is different.”

He said Gordhan's “more compliance-themed” budget for 2013 seemed to focus on consolidating and collections.

“The effect of the proposed changes is that they will seek to collect 11 percent more from individuals compared to only 8.6

percent more from corporates.”

Neville Sweidan, head of forensic services at Grant Thornton Johannesburg, said Gordhan provided a long discourse on the government's determination to fight corruption, with particular reference to procurement.

But he said there was already a lack of seriousness in enforcement, although mechanisms like the Public Protector existed.

“There appears to be up to now a lack of political will to utilise these mechanisms to their best advantage.” - Sapa