Your Tax Deadlines for April 2023


  • 1 April – Start of the 2022/23 Financial Year
  • 6 April – Monthly Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) submissions and payments
  • 26 April – Excise Duty payments
  • 28 April – Value-Added Tax (VAT) electronic submissions and payments & CIT Provisional payments where applicable.

5 Business Plan Mistakes to Avoid


Writing a business plan can feel like a daunting process, and making mistakes is part of the package, even if you follow the online guides and templates.  To make this process simpler, we have made a short list of common errors that somehow keep creeping into these vital documents.

Making it too long

As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once said, “You know the business plan won’t survive its first encounters with reality. It will always be different. The reality will never be the plan.” He did, however then go on to stress that writing a business plan is essential to understanding what will make your business tick. It’s important to realise that your business plan will never be able to cover every contingency and every possible incident that can occur and should rather be focused on revealing the core business. Once you understand your core business implicitly, you will be able to write it down in a much more succinct fashion. A long business plan is therefore only evidence that you don’t yet understand what’s going on.

Understand your target market

No product is for everyone. Understanding who you are selling to and what will motivate them to buy is the first thing any investor will look for, and the most fundamental thing you will need to understand to be successful. It will shape who you hire, what your marketing looks like, and even what your startup’s logo will be. Simply believing you will market to everyone is putting your business on the path to failure.

Ignoring competitors

It is extremely common for companies to exclude business competitors from their business plan. Many believe that their new product is so superior, cheap or well-supported that competitors won’t stand a chance once it is marketed correctly, or simply don’t have as much understanding of the market they are entering as they think they do.  Having a sound, realistic competitor analysis shows investors you understand the market and know where your unique differentiators lie.

Neglecting a financial forecast

Many business plans ignore financial forecasts as they either don’t have the experience necessary or don’t believe they are important – of what use is guessing things that don’t exist? The truth is that a good financial planner or accountant should be able to help with these forecasts which need to include profit and loss, but also, essentially, cash flow and balance sheet. This area of the business plan will reveal to potential investors whether your plan has been carefully thought out, and takes realistic rates of growth into account, or whether it’s simply pie in the sky. No investor is going to work with someone who believes they will sell a million items in the first three months.

Being too strict

The business plan should always be viewed as a guide and not as a set of hard and fast rules. Any business plan that locks a business into a specific course of action is a bad one. You should always have the ability to pivot and make changes as necessary based on the latest feedback. Your ability to research new information and change direction will make it much more likely that your business will meet its long-term goals and needs.

Why (and How) to Submit Skills Development Reports by 30 April


Since 1999, the Skills Development Levy (SDL) has served to fund skills development in the country. It encourages a planned and structured approach to skills development so employers, employees and the economy can benefit from a better skilled and more productive workforce.

All South African companies with a payroll exceeding R500,000 per year (that’s just under R42,000 per month) – including salaries, wages, overtime payments, leave pay, bonuses, fees, commissions and lump sum payments, and with certain specific exclusions – are required to pay SDL of 1% of the total amount paid in salaries to employees each month. It is declared and paid by employers to SARS with the other monthly employee taxes (PAYE and UIF) via the Monthly Employer Declaration (EMP201) and is then paid over to the relevant SETA by SARS.

Employers can claim back more than half of the levies paid each year, but most miss the opportunity by not meeting the stipulated requirements. Depending on the size of a company’s payroll, this could be a substantial amount. There are also other benefits that can be unlocked by meeting the requirements for claiming back the levies paid.

We briefly summarise below the benefits of claiming back the SDL paid, as well as how to do it in the most efficient way.

Benefits of claiming back levies paid

  • Claiming ensures valuable revenue is not forfeited – up to 70% of SDL paid to SARS in the financial period can be claimed back through the mandatory grant and other avenues.
  • 20% of the levy paid can be claimed via the mandatory grant, paid by the Seta every quarter, which is accessed as follows:
    • Appointing and registering a skills development facilitator (SDF)
    • Timeously submitting an approved Workplace Skills Plan (WSP)
    • Timeously submitting an Annual Training Report (ATR) based on the WSP.
  • 50% of levies paid can be claimed in discretionary grants for learnerships, skills programmes, apprenticeships, workplace experience placements, internships and bursaries, and organisations can apply using the same requirements for claiming the mandatory grant.
  • By offering SETA-accredited training, for example, mandatory training and registered learnerships, further tax rebates can be accessed.
  • Successful submission of the required reports will earn your company points for the Skills Development priority element under the revised B-BBEE Codes.
  • The WSP and ATR reports contain similar labour demographics information as the Employment Equity reports, facilitating improved employment equity management in the workplace.
  • Skills development initiatives positively promote a better skilled and more productive workforce, as well as proper succession planning.
  • Submitting the reports provides important sector information to the SETAs (Sector Education and Training Authorities), which informs the development of the SETA’s sector skills plan (SSP) and ultimately the National Skills Development Plan.

How to claim back levies paid

  • Appoint a suitably qualified and registered SDF to facilitate the training needs within the organisation and liaise with the SETA.
  • Companies with 50 or more employees need to establish and consult with a Skills Development Committee before the submission of the skills report.
  • Submit the Workplace Skills Plan and Annual Training Report for the period 01 April to 31 March via a registered SDF to the SETA with which the business is registered.
    • Workplace skills plans detail a company’s skills needs and the skills development interventions to address these needs, providing access to mandatory grants.
    • Annual training reports reflect the actual training data of the previous year, showing how priority skills defined in the Workplace Skills Plan have been addressed.
  • Keep records of all training provided, including attendance registers, invoices and all certifications.

Ask your accountant for help if you are uncertain about anything.

UDZ Tax Incentive Extended: Could Your Business Benefit?


The urban development zone (UDZ) tax incentive, provided for in section 13quat of the Income Tax Act (the Act), was introduced 20 years ago in 2003, as an accelerated depreciation allowance for property investments in certain central business districts. It aims to promote investment by the private sector in the construction or improvement of commercial and residential buildings, including low-cost housing units, situated within demarcated UDZs.

In the most recent 2023 Budget, this incentive was extended for another two years, to allow for the completion of a review of the incentive, which has yielded some successes, by motivating investment in South Africa’s cities. We briefly overview below what the tax incentive entails and the criteria that must be met, where it applies and other issues to take note of when deciding if it could benefit your business before it expires at the end of March 2025.

What the UDZ tax incentive entails

Individuals and companies investing in residential or commercial property in South Africa’s urban zones from which to carry on a trade, should carefully consider the UDZ tax incentive before deciding where to buy.

This tax allowance, when deducted, can substantially reduce the taxable income of a taxpayer, and – because the allowance is not limited to the taxpayer’s taxable income – can create an assessed loss.

However, five specific criteria must all be met before the allowance is granted. In addition, only certain costs can be considered for the purposes of the allowance. These are listed below, along with the UDZs listed by SARS, and some further issues to take note of.

Five criteria to be met


  1. Building requirement – The building must meet certain requirements, and only the cost of the erection, extension, addition to or improvement of the building, covering either the entire building or a floor area of at least 1,000m2 qualifies. Land costs are excluded.
  2. Urban development zone requirement – The building must be located within a UDZ.
  3. Trade requirement – A taxpayer will qualify for the allowance only if the relevant commercial or residential building or part of the building is used by the taxpayer solely for the purposes of trade, and only once the building has been brought into this use.
  4. Owner requirement – The building or part of the building that was erected, extended, added to or improved must be owned by the taxpayer deducting the allowance. Where the building or part of a building was purchased directly from a developer within three years after completion, an allowance may be deducted, provided the developer did not deduct any allowance, among other criteria.
  5. Date requirements – There are specified dates to which the allowance applies, including a commencement date requirement and a trade date requirement.

Costs that may be considered – and those that are not


  • Construction work
  • Architect and approval fees
  • Sidewalks
  • Parking for the building
  • Landscaping as part of the development (including earthworks, greenery and irrigation)
  • Drainage
  • Security (fences, cameras and surveillance equipment)

Costs specifically excluded are the purchase price of the land, VAT and transfer duty, financing charges, agent’s commission and transfer and related legal costs.

Where does the UDZ tax incentive apply?


  • Buffalo City
  • City of Cape Town
  • Ekurhuleni
  • Emalahleni
  • Emfuleni
  • eThekwini
  • Johannesburg
  • Mangaung
  • Matjhabeng
  • Mbombela
  • Msunduzi
  • Nelson Mandela Bay
  • Polokwane
  • Sol Plaatje
  • Tshwane Metro

Source: SARS

Other issues to take note of


  • Depending on the type of development involved – new, improved or low-cost – the allowance is calculated at a different rate of depreciation, providing for 20 – 25% of the costs allowed to be deducted in the first year, and the remainder over one to ten years.
  • When purchasing a building or part of a building from a developer, 55% of the purchase price of a new building, or 30% of the purchase price of a building improved will be allowed as costs for purposes of the UDZ incentive.
  • The UDZ incentive is an accelerated depreciation allowance, and not an additional tax allowance. A taxpayer claiming a UDZ deduction may not claim any other deductions on that building or part of the building.
  • For each building or part of a building on which the allowance is being deducted, you will need the necessary UDZ forms (UDZ 1, 2, 3 and 4 forms), as well as a location certificate and, where applicable, a certificate of occupation.

Taking advantage of this tax incentive, if it applies to you, could mean a difference of millions of rands to your future tax bill. However, this is a very complex tax incentive and there are many issues to be considered.

It is highly recommended that business owners consult with their accounting and tax practitioners to find out if they would qualify for the maximum allowance when investing in a UDZ, and to do so while still ticking all the compliance boxes.