Company Tax in South Africa: An Essential Guide for Businesses

Company Tax in South Africa: An Essential Guide for Businesses


Navigating the intricacies of company tax is a critical aspect of running a successful business in South Africa. Whether you’re a startup or a well-established enterprise, understanding your tax obligations is crucial for compliance and financial health. At Austral Accounting in Umhlanga, Kwazulu Natal, we specialize in providing comprehensive accounting, taxation, secretarial, and payroll services. In this blog, we will explore the fundamentals of company tax in South Africa, offering insights and practical advice to help your business thrive.

Understanding Company Tax

Company tax, also known as corporate tax, is a levy placed on the profits of a corporation. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) regulates this tax, and the Income Tax Act, No. 58 of 1962, governs it. Most companies face a corporate tax rate of 28%, but this rate can vary based on the type and size of the business.

Types of Companies and Tax Rates
  1. Standard Companies: Most companies fall under this category and pay the standard corporate tax rate of 28%.
  2. Small Business Corporations (SBCs): SBCs benefit from a graduated tax rate based on their taxable income, providing significant tax relief for smaller enterprises. The tax rates for SBCs are progressive, starting at 0% for the first R87,300 of taxable income, 7% for income above R87,300 up to R365,000, and so forth.
  3. Micro Businesses: Under the Turnover Tax System, micro businesses with a turnover of up to R1 million can opt for a simplified tax regime. This tax calculates based on turnover rather than taxable income, which can be advantageous for very small businesses.
Important Tax Considerations
  • Provisional Tax: Companies must pay provisional tax in two installments during the year of assessment and a third optional payment after the financial year-end to prevent underpayment.
  • Dividends Tax: Shareholders pay a 20% dividends tax when dividends are declared. This tax is separate from corporate tax but is crucial for companies to consider in their tax planning.
  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT): When a company disposes of an asset and makes a profit, the gain is subject to CGT. For companies, 80% of the capital gain is included in taxable income and taxed at the corporate tax rate.

Tax Compliance and Filing

Ensuring compliance with SARS regulations is essential for avoiding penalties and interest charges. Companies must adhere to several key filing requirements:

  1. Income Tax Return (ITR14): All companies must submit an annual ITR14 to SARS. This return provides a comprehensive overview of the company’s financial performance and tax liability.
  2. Provisional Tax Returns (IRP6): Companies must file two provisional tax returns (IRP6) during the year of assessment, estimating their taxable income for the period. A third, voluntary return can be submitted after year-end to correct any underpayments.
  3. Value-Added Tax (VAT): Companies with an annual turnover exceeding R1 million must register for VAT and submit periodic VAT returns.
  4. PAYE and UIF: Employers must deduct Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) and Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) contributions from employees’ salaries and remit these to SARS monthly.

Tax Planning Strategies

Effective tax planning can significantly reduce a company’s tax liability and enhance its financial health. Consider these strategies:

  1. Utilize Tax Incentives: South Africa offers various tax incentives to encourage investment and economic growth. These include the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive, Urban Development Zone (UDZ) allowances, and Employment Tax Incentive (ETI).
  2. Optimize Capital Allowances: Companies can claim capital allowances on certain capital expenditures, reducing taxable income. These allowances include wear and tear on machinery and buildings used in the production of income.
  3. Efficient Structuring: Proper structuring of business operations can lead to tax efficiencies. For example, utilizing holding companies, subsidiaries, and trusts can provide benefits in terms of tax savings and asset protection.
  4. Review Transactions for VAT Efficiency: Careful consideration of how transactions are structured can optimize VAT recovery and minimize VAT liabilities. This includes correctly classifying supplies and ensuring accurate VAT invoicing.

The Role of Austral Accounting

Navigating the complexities of company tax requires expertise and careful planning. At Austral Accounting, we commit to helping businesses in Umhlanga and beyond achieve their financial goals through our range of services:

  • Accounting Services: Our team ensures accurate and timely financial reporting, providing a solid foundation for tax compliance and strategic planning.
  • Taxation Services: We offer comprehensive tax advisory and compliance services, helping you understand and meet your tax obligations while maximizing tax efficiency.
  • Secretarial Services: Our secretarial services ensure that your company meets all statutory requirements, including company registrations, annual returns, and changes to company details.
  • Payroll Services: We handle all aspects of payroll processing, including PAYE, UIF, and other statutory deductions, ensuring compliance and efficiency.

Call to Action

Understanding and managing company tax in South Africa can be daunting, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. Austral Accounting supports you with expert advice and tailored solutions that fit your business needs. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to helping you stay compliant, optimize your tax position, and ultimately achieve your business objectives.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discover how we can help your business thrive. Whether you need assistance with tax planning, compliance, or any other accounting services, Austral Accounting is your trusted partner in financial success.

About Austral Accounting: Based in the vibrant region of Umhlanga, Kwazulu Natal, Austral Accounting offers a full suite of accounting, taxation, secretarial, and payroll services. Our commitment to excellence and personalized service has made us a trusted partner for businesses of all sizes. Visit our website or call us to learn more about how we can support your business.


Company tax in South Africa involves navigating a complex web of regulations and requirements. However, with the right knowledge and expert support, businesses can effectively manage their tax obligations and focus on growth and success. Austral Accounting is dedicated to providing the expertise and personalized service you need to thrive in today’s competitive business environment. Don’t wait—take the first step towards better financial management and tax efficiency by reaching out to us today.

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