Read more about the article Have Your Own Budget Shortfall? Here’s What to Do…
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Have Your Own Budget Shortfall? Here’s What to Do…

“The cold, harsh reality is that we have to balance the budget.” (Michael Bloomberg, former New York City Mayor)

Budget shortfalls are not uncommon across the public and private sectors, especially in these economically challenging times. A budget shortfall is a significant concern for any individual or organisation and should be corrected promptly.

To address the R15 billion shortfall in National Budget 2024, the South African government earlier this year did not cut its spending, but rather indirectly raised individual taxes by not adjusting personal tax brackets, rebates and credits for inflation, as well as proposing above-inflation increases in sin taxes.

Of course, these strategies are not available to South African individuals and businesses, but nevertheless, as Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City reminded us: “The cold, harsh reality is that we have to balance the budget.

This is because a budget shortfall – when financial obligations or liabilities exceed the amount of cash available – tends to impact negatively on business by, for example, necessitating spending cuts that could adversely affect critical operations, or by requiring an increase in debt to finance the shortfall.

On the other hand, maintaining a balanced budget ensures expenses do not exceed revenue, promoting financial stability and avoiding additional debt. By providing a clear demarcation of the available resources and financial capabilities, a balanced budget facilitates informed decisions, long-term planning and sustainable growth.

There are different types of budgets for various purposes, such as day-to-day operational budgets, cash flow budgets, long-term capital budgets, and master budgets combining various budget types for a comprehensive overview of the company’s overall financial health.

These budgets include elements such as revenue estimates; fixed, variable and one-time costs; cash flow projections; and profit projections. We are able to assist you with choosing the right approach for your business’ specific budgeting requirements.

Strategies for balancing your own business and personal budgets

If you are facing a budget shortfall, the tried and tested strategies below for balancing a budget may be helpful. While these approaches are business-orientated, each can be adapted to balance your personal budget too.

1. Understand your shortfall

Effective budget shortfall management begins with understanding the causes and consequences thereof. Do a thorough analysis before deciding which budget balancing strategies to implement.

For example, a shortfall can be temporary, perhaps the result of a specific set of circumstances, or it can be persistent, which might indicate poor financial management.  Your accountant will also be able to assist in this respect.

2. Spending cuts

This is the basic strategy for addressing budget shortfalls. However, cost-saving opportunities are not always easily found.

Some of the tactics to consider include, for example, cutting all non-essential expenses, across-the-board cuts, targeted cuts in specific areas, or even financial modelling or projections that calculate the combined impact of various approaches.

Not all cost-cutting measures are the same and it is more effective to prioritise cost cutting initiatives based on potential impact and feasibility. Prioritising high-impact initiatives can deliver quick wins, building momentum for further spending cuts.

3. Process optimisation

Unnecessary expenses in a business are often the result of inefficient processes, bottlenecks or redundancy. Eliminating these will not only streamline operations but will also cut waste and unnecessary expenses.

Process optimisation could involve re-organising workflows, automating processes, adopting lean management principles, or even outsourcing certain functions or utilising shared services.

4. Increase revenue

Depending on your business model, there are numerous strategies that may be considered to increase revenue, which could contribute to balancing the budget. These range from re-engaging your previous clients to upselling existing clients, to diversifying your products or services, bundling your offerings, or extending your geographic reach.

You might also consider partnering with other businesses or organisations, or embracing new technology, such as e-commerce, for generating additional income.

5. Short-term finance

Debt may also be a short-term solution but be sure to understand the immediate and long-term consequences, given your current and projected financial situation.

We can provide invaluable advice and assistance if you are considering this option.

6. Monitor, adjust and communicate

Your budgets should be monitored as an ongoing process, including regularly assessing their effectiveness, making necessary adjustments, and tracking progress.

Remember to involve your employees, suppliers and other stakeholders, who often have valuable insights into areas where budgets can be optimised. Communicate clearly about the financial situation and reasons for any budget adjustments, acknowledging the impact on the team and stakeholders, and providing opportunities for them to provide input and ideas to mitigate the impact on their activities.

Maintaining a balanced budget is crucial to financial stability and sustainable business growth. It empowers business owners and managers in understanding the company’s financial health, setting realistic goals, planning for contingencies, and capitalising on opportunities.

We can assist you to prepare a budget tailored specifically to your business, to monitor your team’s budget performance, and to make budget adjustments as required, setting your business up for both resilience and sustainable growth.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.

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Budget 2024: How It Affects You and Your Business

“Our bigger challenge… is that our pie is not growing fast enough and this limits our ability to generate sufficient revenues to distribute among our priority areas.” (Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana – Budget 2024)

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s third Budget Speech in an election year contained few surprises, but also little in the form of good news, especially for South Africa’s personal income tax payers.

The Minister quoted dismal local average expected real GDP growth of 0.6% for 2023, which is projected to reach 1.6% between 2024 and 2026. This poor economic performance is ascribed to the persistent constraints in electricity supply and freight, rail and ports, as well as a high sovereign credit risk.

And the result? A sharp drop in tax revenue collection for 2023/24 which, at R1.73 trillion, is R56.1 billion lower than estimated!

To make up the shortfall, Budget 2024 contains tax measures that will raise an additional R15 billion in 2024/2025, mainly through income tax raised by not adjusting personal tax brackets, rebates and medical tax credits for inflation, as well as above-inflation increases in alcohol and tobacco excise duties.

Other main proposals included no increase to the general fuel levy for 2024/25, a global tax on multinational companies in South Africa with an annual revenue exceeding €750 million and the R150 billion withdrawal from SA’s Gold and Foreign Exchange Contingency Reserve Account.

These announcements are briefly detailed below, along with some of the other announcements that will impact individuals and businesses.

Budget proposals that will impact you
  • Addressing the Budget shortfall, personal income tax brackets are not adjusted for inflation – so individuals who received a salary increase this year are likely to pay more tax as they could fall into a higher tax bracket.
  • No inflation adjustments to the tax rebates.
  • Medical tax credits per month are not increased by inflation.
  • A one-year extension in the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant and increases ranging from R20 to R100 per month in other social grants.
  • Above-inflation increases in the excise duties on alcohol and increases of between 4.7 and 8.2% on tobacco products. This means that the duty on:
    • a 340ml can of beer increases by 14c,
    • a 750ml bottle of wine goes up by 28c,
    • a 750ml bottle of fortified wine goes up by 47c,
    • a 750ml bottle of spirits will increase by R5.53,
    • a 23g cigar goes up by R9.51,
    • a pack of 20 cigarettes, rises by 97c,
    • vaping products increase to R3.04 per millilitre.
  • Two-pot retirement reform to be implemented on 1 September 2024, allowing individuals access to a portion of their retirement savings before their retirement date.
Budget proposals that will impact your business
  • A global minimum corporate tax will be implemented from 1 January 2024, with multinational corporations with an annual revenue exceeding €750 million subject to an effective tax rate of at least 15%, regardless of where their profits are located. This will broaden the corporate tax base, enabling more tax revenue collection without increasing existing corporate taxes for local businesses. This new tax is expected to increase corporate tax collection by R8 billion in the 2026 tax year.
  • An increase in the limit for renewable energy projects that can qualify for the carbon offsets regime, from 15 megawatts to 30 megawatts.
  • An electrical and hydrogen-powered vehicle tax incentive introduced for manufacturers in 2026, enabling them to claim 150% of qualifying investment spending.
  • An increase in the carbon tax from R159 to R190 per tonne of CO2 equivalent from 1 January 2024.
Budget proposals that will impact all
  • The general fuel levy and the Road Accident Fund levy will not be increased this year, providing tax relief of R4 billion.
  • However, the carbon fuel levy will increase to 11c per litre for petrol and 14c per litre for diesel effective from 3 April 2024.
  • Plastic bag levy to increase to 32c per bag from 1 April 2024.
  • The R150 billion withdrawal from SA’s Gold and Foreign Exchange Contingency Reserve Account to pay down government debt.
How best to manage your taxes going forward?

In addition to the announcements detailed above, other technical amendments proposed in the Budget 2024 may also require professional tax advice.

Furthermore, as tax collection remains government’s main source of income, you would be well-advised to rely on our expertise and advice as we determine the impact of the Budget 2024 announcements on your tax affairs.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.

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These Invoicing Tips Could Save Your Business

“Never take your eyes off the cash flow because it’s the lifeblood of business” (Sir Richard Branson, entrepreneur, investor, and author)

Cash is king, said one anonymous business genius. At the end of the day, it’s having money in the bank that keeps a company running smoothly. According to a recent study by Sibongiseni Selby Myeni at the Walden University, the majority of SA’s small to medium enterprises are destined for the scrap heap and the majority of these cases will be due to a lack of cash flow. In an era where more invoices are going unpaid, how can your invoicing process help to make sure you are one of the lucky ones?

Send the invoice immediately

The best time to send an invoice is when you and your relationship with a client is still fresh in everyone’s minds. Ask for the invoicing details up front, so you can send the invoice with the final deliverable.

Invoice for immediate payment

The invoice should request payment immediately, or failing that, at the end of the month and not only when you need the money. Smaller businesses are likely to comply, and bigger companies may rush faster to ensure you get paid promptly within their next payment cycle.  Making the assumption that your client needs leeway or payment time scales well into the future only guarantees your invoice loses priority.

Check your clients

If you are going into a large contract, it’s wise to do some groundwork on your client. One of the biggest reasons for non-payment is the client’s own cash flow worries. Getting some intelligence from other clients, or if possible, running a background check on them, will ensure you don’t invest huge amounts of time and resources into defaulting clients. If you do establish a client might default, you don’t have to cut them off, simply invoice with the intention of being paid up front, or at least request a deposit and include a punitive “late payers’ fee” or interest on non-payment to encourage them to prioritise you.

Never miss the payment cycle

Your larger clients are going to be fanatical about their payment cycles. Ask them upfront when they need to receive invoices and make sure you get the invoice in before that date. Failure to do so will often mean a 30 or even 60 day delay in payment.

Request Debit orders

If you have a client who uses the same service regularly, don’t be afraid to ask for retainers and other contracts, to be paid by debit order, to cover the costs rather than invoicing each month. Be sure to offer perks to encourage your clients to take you up on these offers.

Build relationships

When it comes time to pay, even struggling companies will want to pay the people they know and like first, over the anonymous supplier. Knowing who at your client is responsible for the invoice and following up politely with them is a great way to ensure your invoices are treated with priority.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.

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Read more about the article Tips for Getting out of Business Debt
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Tips for Getting out of Business Debt

“Borrowing isn’t inherently bad; it depends a lot on what the debt is financing” (Stephen Moore, writer and economic commentator)

 Taking on debt can be a good thing for a company. It can fund expansions, help you seize market share or diversify offerings. Handled incorrectly it can, however, lead to severe problems that could ultimately result in bankruptcy. Managing company debt is, therefore, something that should always be done alongside your company accountant, who can advise on whether taking on new debts is possible, whether the debt will pay itself off and how best to keep the payments down. Understanding just how debt works is, however, essential for any business owner and knowing how to pay it off before it becomes trouble is a skill that needs to be nurtured. These are our tips for paying off business debt.

1. Analyse and prioritise

The first step to breaking free from debt is understanding it. By knowing exactly how much you owe and to whom, and the different interest rates and payments involved, you get to take control of that debt. Look at the debts that are the most crippling and which cost you the most in interest each month and target paying these off first. Pay any extra money you have there and in the long run your bank balance will thank you.

2. Cut expenses

No matter how closely you monitor your expenses on a day-to-day basis, there are always items that can be cut to finance debt repayments. Your accountant can help you to analyse your monthly expenses and find areas for improvement. Whether you are making multiple small savings, such as trading to less expensive office coffee, and buying energy saving light bulbs or selling vehicles that aren’t currently utilised, each cent found will make a difference.

3. Shorten your payment cycle

Many businesses operate on an invoicing system which gives clients a certain amount of time to pay for a product or service. The standard amounts are generally 30, 60 or 90 days. While it may be beneficial to clients, having long payment cycles can unnecessarily hurt the supplier. By getting paid sooner, a business is able to maximise the interest it receives on the income, or, in the case of companies with debt, decrease the interest they pay on any loan.

4. Negotiate better debt repayment terms

If your business goes under, your creditors will lose the vast majority of their money. To prevent this from happening, don’t be afraid to approach the banks, or other lenders to renegotiate your payment limits, or interest rates. It is in your creditor’s best interests to ensure you pay (and to keep your business for the future!) so you might be surprised by what they are willing to do when you say you are struggling.

5. Consolidate debt

Depending on how your debt is currently structured and the different interest rates, it may be advantageous to consolidate that debt. Consolidating debt means taking out one large loan with a lower interest rate to cover all the other debts. Doing this can also help pay off your debt faster, as having only one monthly debt payment can feel more achievable than paying off numerous others.

6. Look closely at your pricing

Many people make the mistake of pricing a product based on their costs, plus what profit they hope to make. Accurately pricing a product is about so much more than that though. When pricing your products, you need to take into account the prices being charged by competitors, your true expenses in making that product and what your product brings to the market that is different from your competitors. It is distinctly possible you could be charging more per item, or conversely perhaps you could sell vastly more product if you simply lowered your costs slightly.

7. Diversify

Take a close look at your product offering. Are there things you could add that would be beneficial to existing clients? Getting a new product onto the market that you can upsell as an add-on to already successful products is a great way to generate extra income, which has thus far not been tapped. Diversification is, however, not necessarily just about adding new products to your catalogue.

Take a look at your current clients and your marketing. Are there other markets that might benefit from your product?Using your advertising budget to tap into groups of people who you may not have sold to before, is an excellent way to improve income and pay off that debt.

8. Inventory management

Incorrect inventory management can lead to your company buying too much product, clogging up your storerooms and having things expire on your shelves. Buying too little product can also be a problem as it means you don’t have it on hand when clients come calling and might miss out on sales. Both of these are expensive drains on a company’s accounts and streamlining your inventory and ordering could ultimately save you a significant amount of money.

9. Don’t lose sight of success

In difficult times, companies often make the mistake of cutting back on advertising, or downgrading the business in other ways, by retrenching key staff or not maintaining or upgrading equipment. This thinking will hurt the business in the long run as you lose market share or aren’t able to take advantage of new opportunities. Remember if your profits grow, it will be easier to pay old debts.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.

© CA(SA)DotNews

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New Trustee Duties: More Admin, Impossible Deadlines and Hefty Penalties

“A trustee has a responsibility to guard the assets of others with a higher degree of care than he does his own.” (John Ashcroft)

Onerous new duties have recently been imposed on all trustees of all trusts – by government through legislative amendments, and also by SARS – in addition to their existing fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of all the beneficiaries and “with the care, diligence and skill which can reasonably be expected of a person who manages the affairs of another”.

The legislative amendments follow South Africa’s grey listing by the global financial watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force, and the subsequent changes to the Trust Property Control Act (TPCA) and the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), among others.

The new trustee duties will require extensive and time-consuming additional administration, and have impossible deadlines, while non-compliance can result in hefty penalties. This makes professional trust administration assistance crucial for trustees, now and in the future.

Who is affected?

All trustees – not only independent trustees – are affected by the imposition of these new trustee duties.

In addition, all trusts are affected, regardless of the nature of the trust or the value of the assets in the trust, including family trusts, commercial and business trusts as well as public benefit trusts. Not even dormant trusts are specifically excluded.

The new regulations will also affect companies that provide services to trusts. Under FICA, the scope of ‘accountable institutions’ has recently been expanded to include trust service providers, company service providers, legal practitioners, crypto asset service providers, and clearing system participants, among others. These accountable institutions must conduct customer due diligence on their clients, including verifying identities, assessing the risk of illicit activities, and reporting suspicious activities. This will require significant resources, time and expertise from both trustees and accountable institutions.

What are the new duties and deadlines?

The legislative changes to the TPCA have given rise to trustee duties relating specifically to beneficial ownership registers and records of accountable institutions. In addition, SARS has issued new reporting requirements.

  1. Updated beneficial ownership registers – trustees are now required to collect, record and maintain detailed information and specific records of the beneficial owners of the trust – who are now far more broadly defined to include founders, trustees, beneficiaries, donors and protectors. In addition, trustees must lodge a register of the prescribed information with the Master’s Office, with only a trustee or a person with power of attorney allowed to use the Master’s portal to do so.
  2. Updated records of interactions with accountable institutions – trustees are now required to collect, record and maintain details pertaining to accountable institutions with which trustees have dealings, including, for example, accountable institutions acting as agents to perform trustee functions and accountable institutions providing any services to trustees. As noted, the definition of “accountable institutions” has also widened considerably.
  3. Submitting an IT3(t) for each beneficiary – SARS recently issued a draft notice requiring trustees to submit an IT3(t), which provides details of any amount vested in a beneficiary including income (net of expenditure), capital gains and capital amounts distributed by the end of September so that beneficiaries’ tax returns can be pre-populated.
What are the penalties?

Failure to comply with the obligations as contained in the TPCA is an offence and, on conviction, trustees are liable to a fine not exceeding R10 million, or imprisonment for a period of five years or both.

Trustees are already non-compliant with the TPCA, as the new regulations were published after business hours on Friday 31 March 2023 and became effective on the next day, Saturday 1 April 2023. This means that trustees were simply unable to comply with the regulations by the deadline, both due to the timing of the gazette and delays in establishing the requisite online electronic register on the Master’s ICMS Web Portal.

SARS’s IT3(t) deadline seems more doable, but in reality, the 30th of September is not that far away. Various stakeholders are submitting comments regarding the implementation of this requirement to submit an IT3(t) for each beneficiary, but probably no more than a delay could be expected.

Considering the extent of the new duties, the deadlines, and the hefty penalties involved, trustees are certainly well-advised to seek professional assistance to comply with these additional obligations and to ensure compliance.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.

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Setting Up Your Finances in a New Business

“A house built on granite and strong foundations, not even the onslaught of pouring rain, gushing torrents and strong winds will be able to pull down.” (Haile Selassie, Former Emperor of Ethiopia)

When starting a new business, few things are as important as establishing your finances and making sure they are right. Building the foundation for stable, accurate financial reports and tax filing will see you in good stead in the future and establish the practices that will lead your company to success. Here are the top seven tips.

1. Set up a deadline calendar

Whether you use a large whiteboard in your office, or a digital reminder service like Google Calendar, it is vital that you track which payments are due and when. Whether it’s your staff salaries, business loan payments or accounts payable, you need to know exactly when each amount is due in order to plan your cash flow accurately. Not having the cash on hand when a payment is due not only hurts your business credit rating but can also cost you more in fines or late-payment fees.

2. Monitor your accounts receivable

Just because you have invoiced a client doesn’t mean that money is immediately coming in. Check the terms of each client’s contract to understand exactly when they are likely to pay. If a client pays on a 60-day cycle it is unreasonable to expect the money will come in before that and you therefore need to plan other ways to have cash on hand to meet payments. For each invoice make a note on when it is likely to be paid.

3. Track your inventory

Inventory on hand is as much a part of your finances as the actual cash in your bank. Are you ordering too much and letting things rot on the shelves, or are you ordering too little and being forced to pay for rush deliveries to meet your orders? Tracking inventory will allow you to make better purchase decisions and streamline the operations of your business thereby reducing costs and stress.

4. Consider opening two business bank accounts

Account 1: It is vital that you be able to track all expenses you are incurring in order to make accurate business decisions and monitor your business spending. To do this you will need one bank account in the name of the business dedicated to the daily running and expenses of the business. This will allow you to accurately reconcile the account at the end of the month and see whether more money is coming in than going out. Don’t have more than one daily operations account, and don’t use your personal accounts to pay business expenses – if you do, monitoring your cash flow, income and expenses becomes that much harder.

Account 2: The second account you should think of opening is a savings account, into which you will deposit a percentage of each month’s income to cover the taxes at the end of the year. The last thing you want to do is arrive at year-end unable to afford what you owe to SARS. Ideally, you should pay more than you owe on taxes alone into this account to also build a cash reserve. This cash reserve will see you through difficult times or cover unexpected expenses.

5. Get a bookkeeper

Whether you get a bookkeeper or download bookkeeping software, it is vital that you keep track of all your incomings and outgoings. QuickBooks, Wave, Zoho BooksXero, and FreshBooks are a few examples of the best apps for small business owners. Apart from making the issuing and tracking of invoices easier, knowing exactly which jobs have been invoiced, which have been paid and which are still owing as well as to whom, and how much you owe, will help you to plot payments, make cash flow decisions and price your product more accurately. Moreover, come tax time, you will have all of the paperwork necessary to give to your accountant to ensure as favourable a tax season as possible.

6. Download a receipt scanning app

Now that your bookkeeper or bookkeeping software is tracking your invoices and accounts, you need to also track and accurately record your expenses that are made independent of your monthly suppliers. Fortunately, there are many receipt scanning apps that will help you to quickly and accurately record each business lunch receipt and stationary purchase, and then add them to an online database. Exactly which one you download will depend on your exact needs, but here are a few to get you started: Zoho ExpenseExpensifyWaveQuickBooks Online and Evernote Scannable.

7. Download an app to record business travel

While you can get digital logbooks that you plug into your computer, it is far easier these days to simply download an app that will record each of your journeys automatically in the background on your phone. MileIQ, for instance, is great, because with a simple swipe after each journey you can record whether it was for personal or business reasons, and at the end of the year can print out a full record of all your travels and the related expenses.

Setting up your business foundation is essential for the health of your business. Once you have done all of the above, and accurately tracked your expenses and income for the year your accountant will have an easy time saving you money, ensuring you only pay the taxes you owe and not a cent more.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.

© CA(SA)DotNews

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Budget 2023: How It Affects You and Your Business

“This is not an austerity budget. It is a budget that makes tough trade-offs in the interests of the country’s short and long term prosperity.” (Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana – Budget 2023)

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s second Budget contained no major tax proposals, thanks to an improvement in revenue from higher collection in corporate and personal income taxes, and in customs duties.

Instead, the focus of Budget 2023 was firmly on the current energy crisis, which has resulted in a State of Disaster being declared. It announced that government will take over R254 billion of Eskom’s debt over the next two years, subject to stringent conditions.

Of the tax relief amounting to R13 billion to be provided to taxpayers in 2023/24 announced in the Budget, R9 billion is earmarked to encourage households and businesses to invest in renewable energy. More specifically, R4 billion in relief is provided for households that install solar panels and R5 billion to companies through the expansion of the existing renewable energy incentive.

These incentives are briefly detailed below, along with some of the other announcements that will impact individuals and businesses.

Budget announcements that will impact you personally
  • A new tax incentive to install rooftop solar panels: For one year from 1 March 2023, individuals will be able to claim a rebate of 25% of the cost of installing rooftop solar panels, up to a maximum of R15,000, to reduce their tax liability in the 2023/24 tax year.
  • The personal income tax brackets will be fully adjusted for inflation, increasing the tax-free threshold from R91,250 to R95,750.
  • Medical tax credits per month will be increased by inflation to R364 for the first two members, and to R246 for additional members.
  • The retirement tax tables for lump sums withdrawn before retirement and at retirement, will be adjusted upwards by 10%, increasing the tax-free amount at retirement to R550,000.
  • Revised draft legislation on the ‘two-pot’ retirement system will be published, including the amount immediately available at implementation from 1 March 2024. Withdrawals from the accessible “savings pot” would be taxed as income in the year of withdrawal.
  • Social grants will increase in line with CPI inflation. The R350 grant will continue until 31 March 2024.
  • Increases in the excise duties on alcohol and tobacco of 4.9%, in line with expected inflation. This means that the duty on:
  • a 340ml can of beer increases by 10c,
  • a 750ml bottle of wine goes up by 18c,
  • a 750ml bottle of spirits will increase by R3.90,
  • a 23g cigar goes up by R5.47,
  • a pack of 20 cigarettes, rises by 98c.
Budget announcements that will impact your business
  • Expanding the existing section 12B tax allowance for renewable energy, businesses will now be allowed to reduce their taxable income by 125% of the cost of an investment in renewables for two years from 1 March 2023. There will be no thresholds on the size of the projects that qualify. According to National Treasury, where a renewable energy investment of R1 million is made by a business, that business will qualify for a deduction of R1,25 million, which could reduce the corporate income tax liability of a company by R337,500 in the first year of operation.
  • The existing Bounce Back Loan Guarantee Scheme will be updated to become the Energy Bounce Back Scheme, to be launched in April 2023. Government will guarantee solar-related loans for small and medium enterprises on a 20% first-loss basis.
  • The research and development tax incentive will be extended for 10 years and will be refined to make it simpler and more effective.
  • The urban development zone tax incentive will also be extended, by two years.
  • Manufacturers of foodstuffs will for two years (from 1 April 2023) also qualify for the refund on the Road Accident Fund levy for diesel used in the manufacturing process, such as for generators, to ease the impact of the electricity crisis on food prices.
Budget announcements that will impact all
  • Providing tax relief of R4 billion, the general fuel levy and the Road Accident Fund levy will not be increased this year. However, the carbon fuel levy will increase by 1c to 10c/l for petrol and 11c/l for diesel from 5 April 2023.
  • The health promotion (sugar) levy will remain unchanged for the following two fiscal years.
  • The brackets of the transfer duty table will also be increased by 10%, allowing properties below R1.1 million to avoid any transfer duty payments.
How best to manage these changes and their impact?

In addition to the announcements detailed above, there were other technical amendments proposed in the Budget review that will require professional advice.

As tax collection remains government’s main source of income, you and your business would do well to rely on the expertise and advice of tax professionals as you determine the impact of the Budget 2023 announcements on your tax affairs.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.

© CA(SA)DotNews

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Read more about the article Business Loan or a Credit Facility – Which Is Right for Your Business?
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Business Loan or a Credit Facility – Which Is Right for Your Business?

“I would borrow money all day long, if the cost of borrowing is less than the expected return.” (Brad Schneider, American congressman)

At some point it’s more likely than not that your small business will require a business loan. A 2021 study done by Fundera (a US financial resource business that sources financing for small businesses) suggested that 56% of all small businesses will need a loan to expand operations, pursue new business or acquire business assets. The same study found that 29% of small businesses fail simply because they run out of capital.

Knowing that you need additional funding is not the same as acquiring it though. Other than angel investors there are two principal ways in which a company gains the financing it needs when cash flow is in short supply: a small business loan or a line of credit. But what are these? What are the differences? And how do you decide which you need for your business?

An overview

Essentially, small business loans and lines of credit are similar. They are both ways that businesses can borrow money from lenders and approval is determined based on past financial behaviour, the borrower’s credit history and their established relationship with that lender. 

A traditional loan is a non-revolving credit limit, which means the borrower will be paid out funds once and will then be required to pay the money back, with interest, at a set rate and over a set period. A loan can be granted either “secured” or “unsecured”, meaning it is either backed by collateral or not, and the interest rate charged will depend on the risk to the lending institution, with lower rates available to those with collateral. With a loan, interest accrues immediately upon pay out either in cash to the company, or through payments to other firms where assets are purchased. Examples of loans that may impact a business include car loans, property financing, debt consolidation and commercial loans, which allow companies to hire extra staff, or continue day-to-day operations.

A line of credit is different in that it offers the borrower a maximum amount that they can withdraw at any given stage and payments are made back based on the amount withdrawn and the interest accrued. Provided the borrower keeps up with the terms of the arrangement, this amount is available indefinitely and can be topped up and withdrawn at will. Generally, the interest rates on a line of credit are higher, and the amounts smaller than those offered for a small business loan. Interest only accrues when the line of credit is being used. Should it be fully paid up, then nothing is owed.

Which is right for your business?

Determining which of these loan types is best for your business will require you to look at a few factors. 

  • How much money do you need?

    If the cash injection needed is large or you need to make significant equipment, vehicle or property purchases then a loan will almost always be the correct solution. With lower interest rates and set monthly fees that are easier to account for in a monthly budget, a loan will help you secure what you need, while also keeping costs as low as possible.

    Credit lines are better when the amounts needed may be smaller, but more frequent. It is therefore vital for you to know exactly what money you need, and what you intend to use it for before you approach the lender.
  • How do you plan to use that money?

    As one-off payments or cash injections, loans don’t allow a lot of space for adjustment after they are issued and rarely offer any form of protection in difficult conditions. 

    A line of credit can, however, give you access to extra working capital with no restrictions. Having a line of credit ready to go when needed is a good way to ensure small, unforeseen problems can be negotiated. Late payment by a critical client shouldn’t mean you can’t pay your bills on time. 
  • What kind of flexibility do you need?

    Lines of credit offer a great deal of flexibility for you assuming you’re not sure how much money you will need, or if you expect your expenses to be spread out over an extended period. A line of credit also offers options when it comes to monthly payments, as, provided you meet the minimum payment, you can pay back as much or as little as you can afford. 

    Loans, however, provide the better option when flexibility is not an issue, and your main aim is to limit the amount of debt you take on.

Before applying for any business credit, it’s advisable to speak to your accountant to evaluate just what needs to be accounted for in the financing and what you can reasonably expect to pay back each month. Knowing exactly which potential costs are going to be vital to assist your company’s growth, and which are nice-to-haves, will enable you to make the right decisions when it comes time to choose what kind of financing you are looking for.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.

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