Original Research

Annual tax compliance costs for small businesses: a survey of tax practitioners in South Africa

Sharon Smulders, Madeleine Stiglingh
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 11, No 3 | a464 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v11i3.464 | © 2012 Sharon Smulders, Madeleine Stiglingh | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 October 2012 | Published: 19 October 2012

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Sharon Smulders, University of Pretoria
Madeleine Stiglingh, University of Pretoria

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Abstract

This study provides a baseline measurement for annual tax compliance costs for small businesses. An empirical study performed amongst tax practitioners to identify and measure the annual tax compliance costs for small businesses throughout South Africa revealed that R7 030 per annum is the average fee that tax practitioners charge their small business clients to ensure that their tax returns (for four key taxes – income tax, provisional tax, value added tax and employees’ tax) are prepared, completed and submitted as SARS requires. From the perspective of time and cost, preparing, completing and submitting VAT returns takes the longest and costs the most. It is evident that, overall, the compliance costs are regressive: the smaller the business, the heavier the burden.


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