South Africa, together with similar countries world-wide, has taken active steps to counter the negative effects of the concept of “Base Erosion and Profit Shifting” by tightening its transfer pricing legislation. The South African 2010 Taxation Laws Amendment Act includes certain changes to bring the transfer pricing rules contained under section 31 of the Income Tax Act no 58 of 1962 up to date. These changes are aimed at bringing the South African transfer pricing legislation in line with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines. The new section 31 is aimed at shifting focus from the old transaction-based wording, to a more substance-focused approach. This implies, therefore, that safe harbours will no longer be the main determinant in establishing whether or not a company is thinly capitalised.
The major concerns raised by taxpayers regarding this new approach relate to the uncertainties with regard to its practical application.
Thus, the new amendments have brought about various challenges, including, the standardisation of procedures, reducing the cost of compliance, and developing broad databases that can assist with the determination of the arm's length price.
This study aims to analyse the practical difficulties with which taxpayers could be faced in the application of this new legislation. The study uses the United Kingdom to assess the effectiveness of the new thin capitalisation rules since their thin capitalisation provisions also appear to have been brought in line with the OECD guidelines.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2014.