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South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences

On-line version ISSN 2222-3436
Print version ISSN 1015-8812

S. Afr. j. econ. manag. sci. vol.11 n.3 Pretoria Oct. 2008




Annual tax compliance costs for small businesses: A survey of tax practitioners in South Africa



S Smulders; M Stiglingh

Department of Taxation, University of Pretoria




This study provides a baseline measurement for annual tax compliance costs for small businesses. An empirical study performed amongst tax practitioners to identify and measure the annual tax compliance costs for small businesses throughout South Africa revealed that R7 030 per annum is the average fee that tax practitioners charge their small business clients to ensure that their tax returns (for four key taxes - income tax, provisional tax, value added tax and employees' tax) are prepared, completed and submitted as SARS requires. From the perspective of time and cost, preparing, completing and submitting VAT returns takes the longest and costs the most. It is evident that, overall, the compliance costs are regressive: the smaller the business, the heavier the burden.

JEL: H25, L26



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