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When intra-group loans cost an arm and a leg

Section 31 of the Income Tax Act empowers SARS to alter the tax consequences arising from cross-border financial assistance between connected persons. In a recently published SARS Interpretation Note, it is evident that the manipulation of cross-border pricing to generate undue tax benefits or to artificially allocate profits, may cost corporate taxpayers an arm and a leg.

Tax in a digitised global economy

For any tax system to be fair, effective and efficient, it has to be flexible. Current international tax rules have created certainty by facilitating the implementation of arm’s length principles and attempting to eliminate double taxation. However, increased digitalisation of various economic sectors has emphasised that the current international tax rules are not adequately designed to accommodate business models that do not require physical presence in an enterprise’s target markets and where value creation is driven mainly by intangible assets.