July 2016

DAYS


Etiquette

Awesome Reward goes to:

Work performance:

  • Roald van der Heiden – Exceeded expectations on the Metalsa audit
  • Fatima Wadia – Fighting the brave SARS battle and securing a VAT refund for a client

Academic performance – Successfully completed all the modules enrolled for with distinctions:

  • Hennie de Beer – 3 distinctions
  • Sean Bushe – 3 distinctions
  • Rabia Sarwar – 2 distinctions
  • Andre Strydom – 1 distinction

We would also like to make mention of the following staff who successfully completed all the modules they enrolled for but unfortunately did not receive any distinctions.  We hope that during the next semester you will obtain distinctions to qualify for the R550 awesome reward:

  • Divan Dixon – 6 out of 6 modules
  • Natasha Bothma – 5 out of 5 modules
  • Sikhanyile Noholoza – 4 out of 4 modules

Farewell to staff members:

We bid farewell to the following staff member:

  • Itumeleng Moshayi

We wish her success in her future endeavours.

Cost management: 7 tips for cutting business expenses

It is important for every business owner to make a maximum profit, both through sales and by maintaining strict financial discipline within the company. Implement sound practices from the start, and you will reap the benefits later. These seven tips on cost management will be beneficial for your small enterprise.

  1. Watch expenses from day one.

You might think that overspending during the first few months after opening your doors is forgivable, but discipline is needed right from the start. Spend money only on the necessary and always look for cheaper alternatives. Money saved now will reap rewards later.

  1. Don’t confuse business and personal expenses.

When getting ready for tax season, file your personal and business expenses separately. Be honest and keep your accounting books clean to avoid enquiries from SARS.

  1. Keep detailed and accurate purchasing records.

Accurate record keeping helps you manage your business expenses effectively. Record every purchase, from the smallest to the largest, so that it becomes the custom for everyone in the company. In this way you can see where your money is going and you can cut back if necessary.

  1. Shop around for a low-interest credit card.

As a small business there is the possibility of acquiring a credit card with low interest rates, so visit different banks and find the right one for you. Your card should assist you in expanding your business without the worries of growing debt from high interest rates. 

  1. Run reports early and often.

Review your expenses on a weekly basis so that any additions will be picked up immediately. Do this right from the start and include every aspect of your business, including salaries and any new expenses you might have incurred. This is easier than having to backtrack later.

  1. Invest in technology that will last.

Don’t try to save money on inferior technology; rather buy better quality and save on repairs and replacement costs in the long run. You will get more value from the better product and it is also tax-deductible.

  1. Continue financial responsibility.

The skill of budgeting effectively and saving money is imperative for launching a business. Don’t stop saving money after a while; continue to do so and expect the same from your employees. Growing a business is only possible when you accept your financial responsibility. By using these cost management tips your business will become financially more flexible as it expands.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon 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 financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

Objecting to an assessment

One of the risks of not using a tax professional to attend to one’s tax affairs arises when SARS assesses an individual’s income tax return.  Quite often, a return submitted is assessed incorrectly, or on a basis in terms of which SARS is disputing certain submissions made by the taxpayer in filing his or her (or even a family trust or company’s) income tax return.

It is then important to have an experienced tax professional at your disposal who is aware of the specifically legislated and prescribed dispute resolution rules that are required to be followed in order to object to an assessment with which the taxpayer disagrees.  The benefit of using a tax professional becomes even more pronounced when considering that individuals without tax experience and knowledge very often do not understand correspondence issued by SARS (and which would be informing the taxpayer of an adverse assessment for example being issued), and further that they can check assessments issued to ensure that these have indeed been issued on the basis on which the relevant return has been filed.

Various requirements exist for a valid objection to be lodged with SARS, and these are prescribed in terms of Rule 7(2) of the Rules published in terms of section 103 of the Tax Administration Act, 28 of 2011, which govern the dispute resolution process where SARS is concerned.  The requirements for a valid objection include that the objection be lodged in the prescribed format and by using the correct form, and that the objection be lodged within 30 business days from the date of the assessment issued.

If a taxpayer is unsure of the basis on which SARS would have issued an assessment, the taxpayer is entitled to first request reasons from SARS for the assessment issued in order to allow them to consider whether lodging an objection would be necessary or not to dispute the assessment (Rule 6).  These reasons, if requested, must be clear enough to allow the taxpayer to understand why SARS would have issued an adverse assessment and to then be able to lodge an objection against the assessment in question if required.  A request for reasons too (as is the case for an objection) needs to be submitted to SARS within 30 business days from the date of the assessment, where after the objection must be lodged within 30 business days of these reasons being provided to the taxpayer (and which SARS is obliged to provide, if requested, within 45 business days from receipt of the request for reasons from the taxpayer).

The Rules further make provision for an unsuccessful objection to be appealed to the Tax Board or the Tax Court, or for the Taxpayer and SARS to enter into ADR (‘alternative dispute resolution’) to have the dispute resolved.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon 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 financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

Tips to get the most out of your short term insurance

We take out short term insurance for peace of mind. You pay your premiums regularly and feel safe because you know you are covered should any of your insured assets become damaged. But do you really have the insurance cover you think you have? Are you sure you will be able to claim if your assets should get damaged?

If you pay short term insurance premiums, you want to get the best value for your money and protect yourself against nasty surprises when you need to make a claim. By taking out short term insurance, you undertake to fulfil certain requirements in exchange for insurance cover. If you do not fulfil these requirements, you may not be able to claim for damages against your insurance policy.

Application tips

When you apply for insurance, the insurance company or broker must give you the following information:

  • Proof that they are licensed under the FAIS Act;
  • Policy details: contact details of the insurer, exactly what is covered and excluded, amount of your premium, whether your premium increases automatically every year or not, how to claim; and
  • Inform you that if you pay your premiums late, you will still be insured as long as you pay the outstanding premiums within 15 days. If you pay after the 15th day, you will have no insurance cover.

If you apply through a call centre, ask for the transcript of your phone call for your records.

Make sure you give accurate information. If it’s not accurate, it is false information, even if you thought it was the correct information.

Make sure you play open cards. If you are not sure whether the insurer needs certain information, ask them. By keeping quiet, you also give inaccurate and false information.

After the application

Motor vehicle insurance is only valid if your vehicle is roadworthy. The responsibility rests on you to check your insured vehicle regularly to ensure that it stays roadworthy e.g. make sure there is enough tread on the tyres as required by law. Also, remember to contact your insurer at least once a year to reduce the insured value of your vehicle as motor vehicles’ value normally decline over time. By reducing the insured value, you will save on premiums and avoid being over-insured.

Household content insurance covers everything inside your house. House contents are normally insured at replacement value. As the price of furniture, clothing, etc.  increases over time, you need to contact your insurer periodically to adjust the replacement value of your home’s contents to prevent becoming under-insured.

Home owners insurance covers the physical structure (building) of your house. Property is normally insured at the rebuilding value of the structure. Take note that the rebuilding value of a property is usually lower than its market value. Any cost incurred to maintain the building’s structure is generally not covered by insurance. An insured property owner must do adequate maintenance on the property. If a property owner neglects to do the necessary maintenance and consequently suffers a loss,  he/she will not be able to claim from the insurer for damage suffered as a result of inadequate maintenance. As most properties’ rebuilding value increase over time, you need to contact your insurer from time to time to increase the insured value of your house.

All risks insurance covers movable items that are taken out of the house e.g. cell phones. Most policies have a claim limit up to which movable items don’t have to be specified in your insurance policy. Any claim for an item with a value above the limit will only be considered if the item was specified by informing your insurer about any identifiable details of the item which can help to identify that item e.g. the brand, colour or serial number.

To enjoy maximum protection under your short term insurance policy, you need to do three things. Firstly, pay your premiums on time. Secondly, maintain insured assets as agreed with the insurer. Lastly, periodically assess whether the insured value of assets covered by your insurance policy, is still reasonable. If there are material changes in the replacement value of any of these assets, instruct your insurer to adjust the insured value of such assets. If you do these three things, you can have the peace of mind that you have maximum protection under your short term insurance policy.

Reference List

Accessed on 18 September 2015:

  • SAIA Consumer Education Booklet written by Denis Beckitt

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon 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 financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)