Venture capital funding for small businesses

Funding remains one of the biggest challenges for small businesses. To encourage equity funders to invest in small businesses, the venture capital company regime was introduced in 2008. Currently, 31 venture capital companies are registered. Government is aware that the application of certain provisions on these companies may result in potential investors abandoning plans to take up this incentive. Measures to mitigate this unintended consequence will be explored.

Urban development zones

The urban development zone (UDZ) tax incentive stimulates investment in the construction and renovation of commercial and low-cost residential buildings in the inner city. In conjunction with other development tools, the incentive has helped municipalities promote urban renewal. To assist the many inner cities that remain derelict, it is proposed that the UDZ tax incentive be made available to more municipalities, subject to the application of a set of strict criteria and an adjudication process.

Small business corporations in special economic zones

When the special economic zones tax incentive was introduced in 2013, no clarity was provided regarding the tax treatment of small business corporations located in special economic zones. It is proposed that the legislation be amended to make it clear that small business corporations in special economic zones are subject to corporate income tax at either the applicable graduated rate or 15 per cent, whichever is lower. To be eligible for the 15 per cent rate, the small business corporation will still need to comply with the provisions of section 12R of the Income Tax Act.

Tax treatment of National Housing Finance Corporation

The Department of Human Settlements is consolidating all of its human settlement development finance institutions into the National Housing Finance Corporation. It is proposed that a special tax exemption similar to that provided to certain government entities be provided to the National Housing Finance Corporation. Further amendments will be considered to ensure the transfer of assets from the department’s current development finance institutions to the National Housing Finance Corporation are tax neutral.

Tax treatment of land donated under land-reform initiatives

Currently, tax legislation provides tax relief for land donated for land reform. This tax relief does not extend to all government land-reform initiatives. It is proposed that the legislation be amended to cover other land-reform initiatives, such as those set out in the National Development Plan.

Clarifying the tax treatment of government grants

Government grants that are not listed in the Eleventh Schedule to the Income Tax Act can still fall outside the definition of gross income if they are of a capital nature. It is proposed that all government grants be included in gross income and the Eleventh Schedule be the sole mechanism for determining whether they are taxable or not.