A strategic perspective of the costs of compliance as a result of the implementation of duty at source in the fuel industry.
The South African Revenue Services fulfils a number of roles in the reform process of South African Society through its collection of revenue to fund Government programmes, the facilitation of trade and economic security and contributing to an economy that supports growth and development. As the key revenue collector of government, SARS is mandated to collect revenue from all taxes. These tax types include Income Tax, VAT, PAYE, and Skills development, Levy, Customs Duty and Excise Tax. One of the taxes administered by the SARS on behalf of the Ministry Of Finance is Excise Duty. The Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964 defines Excise duty as any duty leviable on certain locally manufactured goods. The tax on these goods is commonly referred to as sin taxes by the Ministry of Finance as these goods are seen as luxury goods. Products on which Excise Duty in levied include alcohol, fuel, beer, cigarette, tobacco, spirits and wine. Prior to 2 April 2003 the system used by the Oil industry to account for the sales of fuel was a sales based system. This effectively meant that excise duty could be deferred for a period of up to two years. This manner of taxation allowed the fuel industry to only pay tax once there had been a sale of the fuel. It therefore reduced the tax liability at the time of manufacture. The Duty at Source initiative of the SARS was aimed at ensuring that all excise duties be collected at the time of manufacture rather than the time of sale. Duty at source for the fuel industry was implemented on 2 April 03. Duty at source requires that the duty is paid at source i.e. at the time of manufacture of fuel in the refineries. The purpose of the new system was to facilitate the easier collection of revenue and to introduce greater efficiency both for the South African Revenue Services as well as the external role players. The implementation of this new system of assessing duty created a series of administrative and compliance burdens for both parties i.e. for SARS and taxpayers. The implementation was further not supported by a strategic framework. Due to the lack of the strategic perspective, this study undertakes to identify, suggest and evaluate strategies to manage the cost of compliance as a result of the duty at source implementation. To support the suggested strategies an operational framework will also be developed to facilitate successful implementation.