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    The Emerging African Scholars' Virtual PhD Workshop 2021: Combined Professional Development Workshop
    ARCOSA has published a recording of their Emerging African Scholar's Virrtual PhD Wrokshop for anyone to view! This video specifically captures the "Navigating the Publication Process: Advice for Junior Scholars from Journal Editors" session.    The session was anchored by Professor Zachariah Mampilly; Marxe Endowed Chair of International Affairs at the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at City University New York.
    By: Madeleine Futter

  • To Tax or not To Tax? Questioning Customer Loyalty Programmes
    South Africa, like many other countries, needs additional sources of tax revenues. Recent debate indicates that one potential source of revenue is the taxation of customer loyalty rewards in the hands of customers. The arguments for the taxation of these rewards have been put forward from a principled perspective and not from a legal basis. We argue that while the taxation of these rewards would increase tax revenue, legislative reform is required as there are strong arguments that the rewards are actually not taxable. We suggest tax reforms that attempt to provide certainty and equity in the treatment of such rewards as a whole in order to provide additional revenue for the fiscus.
    By: Teresa Pidduck
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  • The Sasol Oil case – Would the present South African GAAR stand up to the rigours of the court?
    South Africa finds itself vulnerable to exploitation by the measures taken by multinational enterprises (MNEs) who seek to enter into tax avoidance schemes that artificially shift profits to low- or no-tax jurisdictions. While common law, specific and general anti-avoidance measures may be used as a defence against these schemes, there has been no judicial consideration of the current South African general anti avoidance rule (GAAR) since its replacement in 2006. In this context this paper makes two contributions. First, the paper applies the current GAAR to a recent case where the predecessor to the current GAAR was applied to a scheme entered into by an MNE. This is done in order to determine if the current GAAR (unlike its predecessor) is able to stand up to the rigours of court when presented with similar facts. In doing so it demonstrates how the untested GAAR may be interpreted and applied. Second, the paper makes suggestions for amendment to the current GAAR in order to improve its efficacy in an international context.
    By: Teresa Pidduck
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  • Tax research methodology for untested legislation: An exemplar for the tax scholar
    Tax scholars using typical doctrinal and reform-oriented methodologies often struggle to articulate the process undertaken in their research and at the same time, these methods often require an analysis of legislation that has already been the subject of judicial inquiry. However, this raises the challenge of what method to employ in the absence of such judicial inquiry. The tax environment has become so dynamic that law reform occurs rapidly and the law has to be researched, in the absence of case law post legislative amendment. This article provides tax scholars with a methodological approach described as a structured pre-emptive analysis that overcomes this problem (in other words an adaptation of typical doctrinal reform-oriented approaches). Using an exemplar of an actual tax law problem, the paper demonstrates how to conduct rigorous research in the absence of case law dealing with legislation that is the subject of enquiry. The article makes two contributions. First, it gives transparency to the traditional doctrinal reform-oriented methods primarily used in law. Second, it illustrates a method that can be used to overcome the absence of case law.
    By: Teresa Pidduck
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  • Progressive tax: A proposal for customer loyalty programmes
    PurposeThe South African Government needs to increase fiscal revenues to cater to increased government spending. This paper aims to argue that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has an opportunity to tax the receipt of customer loyalty programme awards in the hands of customers, with little amendment to current tax legislation or administration. This provides the South African Government an opportunity to increase much needed tax revenue in spite of limited resources.Design/methodology/approachFive instrumental case studies were used and analysed from a financial reporting perspective to quantify customer loyalty points earned by customers. These can form a basis for deriving the potential benefits from the taxation of customer loyalty programmes in the retail industry. The multiple instrumental case studies used and the application of accounting guidance in International Financial Reporting Standards allow generalisations to be made to highlight the amount of customer loyalty awards granted and possible tax revenues forgone in just one sector of the South African economy.FindingsShould the proposals for taxation of customer loyalty programmes be implemented, the fiscus would be able to collect over R 234.35m (US$16.91m) in tax revenue from only five companies providing customers with loyalty awards. This indicates that this proposal for taxation is critical for investigation by the South African Government, as it may aid in achieving revenue goals for South Africa.Originality/valueThis paper contributes to the literature on taxation legislation within South Africa by proposing a model that may be used by the SARS to increase tax revenues to meet the Government’s needs.
    By: Teresa Pidduck
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  • Avoiding tax in South Africa's retail industry via customer loyalty programs
    The Medium Term Budget Policy Statement presented by the South African Minister of Finance in late 2013, highlighted that government expenditure substantially exceeded revenues collected. In investigating the possible broadening of the South African tax base as well as improving revenue administration, there is evidence of a gap in the taxation of customer loyalty programmes within many industries. The problem is that customer loyalty award credits is currently not being taxed by the revenue authority in South Africa. This study uses a multiple instrumental case study design to identify the tax leakages resulting from inadequate revenue administration within the South African retail industry’s use of customer loyalty programmes. The study has found that the loss to the fiscus in the non-taxing of customer loyalty award credits is substantial.
    By: Teresa Pidduck
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  • Customer loyalty programmes: The loss to the fiscus in South Africa
    The 2013 Budget Speech presented by the South African Minister of Finance highlighted that the best way to generate resources is to grow the economy and increase the tax base. In investigating the possible broadening of the South African tax base, as well as improving revenue administration, there is evidence of a gap in the taxation of customer loyalty programmes. The complexity of identifying and administering the receipt of customer loyalty award credits for millions of individuals has led to the receipt of customer loyalty award credits not being taxed whilst the expenses related to these award credits are being deducted by businesses. In closing this gap, the South African Revenue Service may be able to increase the tax base and limit fiscal leakage. For this reason, any gaps in the taxation of receipts and accruals is of interest to any researcher, taxpayer and government interested in understanding where current administration of legislation may be failing. In this study, the authors consider the tax leakage from a legislative and administrative perspective as well as investigate possible solutions. The revenue authorities in South Africa are urged to make changes to the current tax administration in order to prevent inconsistencies in treatment and tax leakage without negatively impacting the essence of the customer loyalty programmes.
    By: Teresa Pidduck
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  • GAAR’s in Australia and South Africa: Mutual Lessons
    While the South African and Australian general anti-avoidance rules ('GAARs') differ in their structure and design, each is directed towards the same end. Although the South African GAAR was substantially amended in 2006 to address perceived inadequacies, there has yet to be any judicial consideration of the 'new' provision. While it is a highly prescriptive provision (at least in comparison with its Australian counterpart) considerable uncertainty as to its effectiveness remains, especially as an earlier attempt to remedy many of the same deficiencies in 1996 was spectacularly unsuccessful.Meanwhile, after a slow start, the jurisprudence on the Australian 1981 GAAR continues to gather momentum. Although many of the application and interpretative issues have gradually been resolved, others seem insoluble.In this paper the authors examine these two GAARs with a view to identifying if any lessons for their application and interpretation can be gathered from each other. The authors argue that, notwithstanding design differences, there are some remarkably similar issues to be resolved. Some of the Australian case law may therefore be instructive as to the approach that could be adopted in South Africa, while some of the prescriptions in the South African legislation could be of value in assisting the Australian judiciary to direct their attention to relevant considerations or, possibly more likely, could form the basis for further legislative prescriptions in the Australian GAAR.
    By: Teresa Pidduck
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    Nice to be back
    By: Obinna Anyanwu chidi
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  • TWAS Fellowships for Research and Advanced Training
    TWAS offers fellowships to young scientists in developing countries to enable them to spend three to 12 months at a research institution in a developing country other than their own. The purpose of these fellowships is to enhance the research capacity of promising scientists, especially those at the beginning of their research career, helping them to foster links for further collaboration.   Eligibility The fellowships are for research and advanced training. They are offered to young scientists holding at least an MSc or equivalent degree. Eligible applicants for the fellowships are young scientists working in any area of natural sciences who are citizens of a developing country and are employed by a research institution in a developing country. There is no age limit. However, preference is given to young scientists at the beginning of their research career and those working in Least Developed Countries. Lists of possible host institutions divided by field are available here. These lists are only a suggestion and institutions that are not included are acceptable as long as they are in a developing country. Institutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China, are not eligible host institutions under this programme. Applicants interested in conducting a fellowship in China are required to check whether their chosen host is a CAS institute. For a complete list of CAS institutes, see: english.cas.cn/institutes/. Applicants wishing to attend a CAS institute should either apply to the CAS-TWAS President’s Postgraduate Fellowship Programme or consider the CAS Fellowships for Postdoctoral and Visiting Scholars from Developing Countries (http://english.cas.cn/cooperation/fellowships/201503/t20150313_145274.shtml). Deadline: 1 October each year. Terms of the Fellowships The fellowships are offered for a minimum of three months and a maximum of twelve months. TWAS covers international low-cost airfare plus a contribution towards subsistence amounting to a maximum of USD 300 per month. No other costs will be provided by TWAS. The host institution is expected to provide accommodation and food as well as research facilities. Fellowships are awarded by the TWAS Fellowships Committee on the basis of scientific merit. Submitting your application Applicants must complete the online application form by clicking on the 'Apply now' button at the bottom of this page. While filling in the online application, applicants also need to upload the following documentation: scanned copy of your passport, even if expired (page with your name and surname); CV, maximum five pages including publications; Supporting Statement from Head of Home Institution; two reference letters of senior scientists familiar with your work. Please note that the Head of your Home Institution cannot be one of your referees; MSc certificate and relevant university transcripts; Official invitation letter from the  Head of the Host Institute;   IMPORTANT Note that the Fellowships are provided for South-South visits only, i.e. for visits by researchers from developing countries to institutions in other developing countries. Please be advised that applicants may apply for only one programme per calendar year in the TWAS and OWSD portfolio. Applicants will not be eligible to visit another institution in that year under the TWAS Visiting Professorprogrammes. One exception: the head of an institution who invites an external scholar to share his/her expertise under the TWAS Visiting Professor programmes may still apply for another programme.   Contact email:  exchanges@twas.org
    By: Madeleine Futter
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  • 2021 RUFORUM Young African Entrepreneurs Competition
    The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), a consortium of 129 Universities in 38 African Countries, is pleased to announce the call for 2021 RUFORUM Young African Entrepreneurs Competition (RUYAEC). The overall purpose of the RUFORUM Young African Entrepreneurs Competition (RUYAEC) is to catalyse entrepreneurship through promotion of business innovation and provision of seed funding to young entrepreneurs with creative and innovative business ideas among African youth. RUYAEC will target young African entrepreneurs and incubates below 35 years of age to compete for 20 awards that show case their innovations, enterprises, business concepts and propositions.   This fourth round (see previous rounds here) of the RUFORUM Young Innovators Competition will be an Africa-wide competition and hence it will target all African countries. The awards will be made in Cotonou, Benin during the RUFORUM Triennial Conference in December, 2021.   RUFORUM targets to provide 20 awards to young innovators and entrepreneurs in the following fields: Food and agribusiness, Incubations, ICTs, Health, Engineering, Natural resources, and Meteorology, among others. All the 2016, 2018, and 2019 RUFORUM Young Innovators Awardees are NOT eligible to apply.   The RUYAEC operates within one of RUFORUM’s values and principles of creativity seeking to offer opportunities to develop innovative solutions both in addressing the problems faced by smallholder farmers, and in managing research projects in remote areas.   For more information, please visit https://ruforum.smehub.africa/. The new revised deadline of submissions of applications for this fourth round is 31st August 2021.  
    By: Madeleine Futter
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  • New and Improved Bridge Website
    AAP is excited to announce the new and improved website AAPBridge! Our Bridge website provides opportunities for early career researchers, African scholars, and others to connect and share on many topics. Look out for information about #BridgeLaunchDay on our social media ahead of the official release on Aug 16. Watch this promo video to get a sneak peek into the Bridge 2.0!
    By: Madeleine Futter
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