Death taxes are payable by individuals upon their death. It is therefore ironic that the living has devoted so much of their time and energy to arguing about the future of this tax. One can only presume that a person will not find any peace in the after-world if they felt that they were treated unfairly by the tax authorities upon their death.
The arguments surrounding death taxes have been carrying on since the first country abolished the tax in 1978. Very few countries that have implemented the tax have not had in-depth research and discussion surrounding the tax and South Africa is no exception. Until now there have been no measures put in place to abolish the tax in South Africa, however the Minister of Finance has indicated that the future of the tax is currently being reviewed by the tax authority.
Both the proponents and opponents believe that their views are correct regarding the future of the tax. Although their views might differ about the matter, both sides do agree that a decision about the tax needs to be made so that the government and academia can focus on other important matters.
Both sides make use of case studies and research performed in other countries to support their views. However, South Africa has a very unique political, economic and social environment and therefore the findings and views applicable in other countries cannot simply be applied locally.
The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages noted by international experts and academia against the unique South African climate. This is done to enable the researcher to determine what the possible political, economic and sociological effect might be on the country should death taxes either be abolished or kept for the foreseeable future.
The conclusion is that due to the global recession and the abundance of poverty and unemployment in South Africa, the benefits of keeping death taxes outweigh the drawbacks thereof. Until such a time that the climate in the country has changed dramatically, death taxes should form part of the country’s tax regime.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2013.