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South Africa

in line with the practice generally prevailing, the input tax must be claimed within six months.

VAT compliance

Tax invoices

A full tax invoice must be issued within 21 days of the date of a taxable supply if the consideration for the taxable supply exceeds ZAR3,000. The tax invoice must be in South African rand and contain the following information:

  • the words ‘tax invoice’;

  • an individual serialised invoice number;

  • name, address and VAT registration number of the supplier;

  • name, address and VAT registration number (if applicable) of the recipient;

  • date of issue of invoice;

  • quantity or volume of goods or services;

  • full and proper description of goods or services supplied; and

  • amount charged excluding VAT, VAT charged and amount charged including VAT, or

  • amount inclusive of VAT, with a statement to the effect that VAT is included at a specified rate.

If the consideration for the taxable supply does not exceed ZAR3,000 the supplier vendor may issue an abridged tax invoice, instead of the full tax invoice. The abridged tax invoice must contain all the information required for a full tax invoice, except:

  • the name, address and VAT registration number of the recipient; and

  • the quantity or volume of the goods or services.

Electronic invoicing is accepted on certain conditions. A foreign language may not be used on invoices. Invoicing in a foreign currency is allowed, if it is a zero-rated tax invoice. For standard rated tax invoices, the conversion to South African rand must be reflected on the tax invoice.

Credit notes and debit notes

Credit and debit notes are issued when the initial consideration for the taxable supply must be adjusted.

Credit notes and debit notes must contain the following information:

  • the words ‘credit note’ or ‘debit note’;

  • name, address and VAT registration number of supplier;

  • name, address and VAT registration number of recipient (only if a full tax invoice was issued for the original supply);

  • date of issue of credit note or debit note;

  • reason for issuing the credit note or debit note;

  • sufficient information to identify the transaction to which the credit note or debit note relates;

  • amount charged,

  • excluding VAT, VAT charged and amount charged including VAT, or

  • including VAT, and a statement that VAT is included and the rate of VAT charged;

A credit note is not required where the terms of a prompt payment discount are clearly reflected on the face of the tax invoice.

A supplier must increase his output tax for the period in which the debit note was issued, and the recipient (if a registered vendor) may increase his input tax to reflect the debit note.

Where a credit note was issued, the supplier has an option either to decrease his output tax or to increase his input tax. The opposite applies to the recipient (if registered as a vendor).

Additional export documentation

Specific documentary requirements have been prescribed by SARS for substantiating the zero-rating of an export, for example:

  • the supplier’s copy of the zero-rated tax invoice;

  • the recipient’s order or the contract between the supplier and recipient;

  • export documentation as prescribed under the Customs and Excise Act;

  • proof of payment;

  • proof that the exported goods have been received by the recipient outside South Africa; and

  • other specific documents, depending on the mode of transport.

Record keeping

Records must be kept for a period of five years. After the first year, certain records may be kept solely in electronic form, if SARS’ prior approval has been obtained. The records may be kept outside South Africa, but the originals must be made available if requested by SARS.

PricewaterhouseCoopers 139

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