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Africa Tax in Brief
ENSafrica, November 2017

ANGOLA: Introduction of transfer pricing unitA transfer pricing unit, set up as an administrative technical structure forming part of the Large Taxpayers Directorate of the General Tax Administration, was launched on 25 September 2017 and will be responsible for monitoring compliance with Angola’s transfer pricing regime introduced by Presidential Decree No.147/13 of 1 October 2013...

The Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, 2017: far-reaching changes to debt reduction rules
ENSafrica, November 2017

  The new South African Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, 2017 (the “TLAB 2017”) was released following the public consultation process for the Draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, 2017 (the “Draft TLAB 2017”). While some of the changes in the TLAB 2017 following submissions made on the Draft TLAB 2017 are welcome, others are problematic...

Unutilised capital losses – can SARS impose understatement penalties?
ENSafrica, November 2017

In terms of section 222(1) of the South African Tax Administration Act, 2011 (the “TAA”), “[i]n the event of an ‘understatement’ by a taxpayer, the taxpayer must pay, in addition to the ‘tax’ payable for the relevant tax period, the understatement penalty determined under subsection (2) unless the ‘understatement’ results from a bona fide inadvertent error” (our emphasis)...

Relocating from South Africa? Key steps to undertake in the emigration process
ENSafrica, November 2017

There are a number of considerations when relocating to another country that involve much more than a mere physical departure and the taking up of permanent residence in a foreign country. In South Africa, an individual will continue to be regarded as a South African resident for exchange control purposes until such time as the South African Reserve Bank (the “SARB”) has provided him/her with formal emigration approval...

Playing with fire – understanding future financial commitments
ENSafrica, November 2017

Section 66 of the South African Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (“PFMA”) places certain restrictions on the powers of national and provincial public entities, government departments and constitutional institutions (“public institutions”) in regard to specified transactions, namely borrowing, the issue of guarantees, indemnities and security, and entering into transactions that bind or may bind that public institution or the revenue fund to any other so-called future f

With child, without pay
ENSafrica, November 2017

In the Labour Court judgment, dated 7 November 2017, of Manyetsa v New Kleinfontein Gold Mine (Pty) Ltd, a pregnant employee claimed she was unfairly discriminated against due to the application of the maternity leave policy of her employer, a gold mining company...

UGG, what a legal mess!
ENSafrica, November 2017

There’s an interesting trade mark dispute under way about UGG. It touches on a range of IP issues – geographical indications, generic terms, country-of-origin brands and Chinese manufacture.Many readers will know that UGG is a sheepskin boot originating from Australia. UGG has apparently been around since the1930s, when it was created to deal with the cold winters in Australia (the Blue Hills region of New South Wales apparently can get cold)...

Huawei/Wawei, it’s all a bit confusing
ENSafrica, November 2017

In this article, we look at two recent trade mark opposition decisions. These remind us of the many issues that need to be considered when comparing trade marks. They also highlight the growing importance of Chinese brands.The first involves a case that was before the European Union IP Office (“EUIPO”). In this case, the Taiwanese company Wawei filed an EU trade mark application for Wawei for food and drink in classes 29, 30 and 32...

Brexit: is it offensive?
ENSafrica, November 2017

The issue of offensive trade marks has been in the news quite a bit of late. Now, the European trade mark authorities have considered whether Brexit, the term used to describe the UK’s departure from the European Union, is a trade mark that might offend. It might seem like an unlikely trade mark, but clearly some people think that Brexit works as an indicator of commercial origin...

Uganda Insurance Regulatory Authority clarifies new bancassurance guidelines
ENSafrica, November 2017

The Ugandan Insurance Regulatory Authority (“IRA”) has released clarification on its recently published bancassurance guidelines. Following the publication of the Insurance (Bancassurance) Regulations, 2017, the IRA published guidelines on the licensing of financial institutions as bancassurance agents...

“Breaking ground” to calculate mineral royalties on unrefined minerals
ENSafrica, October 2017

The 2014 changes to the South African Mineral and Petroleum Resources Royalty Act, 2008 (the “Royalty Act”) have left mining companies and extractors (“taxpayers”) in uncertain territory...

Dividends tax: The importance of determining when a dividend is “due and payable”
ENSafrica, October 2017

Section 64E(1) of the South African Income Tax Act, 1962 (the “Act”) provides that dividends tax must be levied at a rate of 20% of the amount of any dividend paid by any company, other than a headquarter company. In terms of section 64EA(a) of the Act, the beneficial owner of a cash dividend is liable for dividends tax in respect of that dividend. However, in terms of section 64F(1), a cash dividend is exempt from dividends tax in various instances...

From Functional Analysis to Value Chain Analysis
ENSafrica, October 2017

Attacks by the South African Revenue Service (“SARS”) on the transfer pricing practices of multinational enterprises (“MNEs”) are on the rise, leading to tax disputes with SARS over significant amounts of tax. MNEs operating in South Africa provide information to SARS in various forms such as annual Corporate Income Tax returns, Country-by-Country reports as well as the extensive Transfer Pricing documentation...

Finally some clarity on impending margin requirements for OTC derivatives
ENSafrica, October 2017

On 8 August 2017, the South African Financial Services Board (“FSB”) released for comment the second draft of the Board Notice entitled “Margin Requirements for OTC Derivative Transactions” (the “Second Draft Board Notice”)...

Can an employer make deductions from remuneration for work not done?
ENSafrica, October 2017

In Mpanza and another v Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and Correctional Services and others, the South African Labour Court dealt with a dispute about whether an employer was entitled to make deductions from the remuneration of two employees in circumstances where they were absent from work...

What are the Tax and Exchange Control Implications of Bitcoin?
ENSafrica, October 2017

With virtual currencies such as Bitcoin becoming ever more popular and accessible, it is important that South African taxpayers carefully consider the tax and exchange control uncertainties that accompany the incorporation of these relatively new systems into businesses and/or investment portfolios. We highlight below some of the tax and exchange control consequences arising from transactions involving Bitcoin...

GDPR – new EU privacy rules: African organisations take note
ENSafrica, October 2017

  On 25 May 2018, a new set of privacy rules formed by the European Union (“EU”) will take effect. The General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) seeks to replace the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. Organisations – including many African ones – will need to make changes to their oversight, technology, processes, and human resources to comply with the GDPR...

Imagine there’s no protection
ENSafrica, October 2017

The recent spat between Yoko Ono and a Polish drinks company highlights the importance of registering trade marks.What happened in this matter was that John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, threatened a small Polish lemonade manufacturer with legal action. The issue? The product that the Polish company sells in a number of European countries is called John Lemon...

Let’s (not) twist again
ENSafrica, October 2017

South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal (“SCA”) has handed down an important trade mark judgment. The case of PepsiCo Inc v Atlantic Industries deals with the issues of distinctiveness and likelihood of confusion, with a special emphasis on sub-brands. There are a lot of important points in this short judgment, so I am going to quote liberally.The facts: PepsiCo applied to register the trade mark Pepsi Twist (with and without a device) for soft drinks...

ASA’s jurisdiction regarding non-members finally settled
ENSafrica, October 2017

The issue of the jurisdiction of the South African Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) to determine matters involving individuals and companies that don’t belong to the body has now been resolved by an agreement that has been made an order of the Supreme Court of Appeal in the case of Advertising Standards Authority v Herbex (Pty) Ltd...

Trade marks in China: a New Balance
ENSafrica, October 2017

There was a time when companies were sceptical about IP protection in China, with the general impression being that the law was heavily weighted in favour of local companies, some of whom seemed to make a habit of hijacking foreign brands. But things have changed considerably over the past few years, and a recent trade mark development should further persuade African businesses that their IP rights, and particularly their trade marks, will be properly protected in China...

FSB victory in market abuse case
ENSafrica, September 2017

The Supreme Court of Appeal handed down judgment today, 28 September 2017, in the matter of Pather v Financial Services Board.  The decision concerns a challenge to the jurisdiction of the Enforcement Committee of the Financial Services Board (“FSB”) to deal with market abuse, specifically in this case publishing false statements that resulted in an overstatement of the performance of their company...

A Legal Obligation to Monitor your Social Media Pages?
ENSafrica, September 2017

Many of us are aware of the popular myth that ostriches believe burying their heads in the sand will make them invisible to predators. In other words, an “if I can’t see you, you can’t see me” approach. Even though scientists will tell you that this is not true, the approach seems to bear a resemblance to the online behaviour of some humans...

Appointment and duties of an information officer in terms of South Africa’s POPI draft regulations
ENSafrica, September 2017

he office of the South African Information Regulator recently published its first draft regulations in terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (“POPI”), entitled “Regulations relating to the Protection of Personal Information, 2017”. The draft regulations are open for public comment until 7 November 2017...

Unintended consequences of the new CFC rules
ENSafrica, September 2017

In the 2017 South African Budget speech, the Minister of Finance raised government’s concern that the current Controlled Foreign Company (“CFC”) rules do not capture foreign companies held by interposed trusts or foundations, and it was announced that countermeasures for the treatment of foreign companies held by trusts or foundations will be considered...

The countdown begins for retirement funds to comply with the final Default Regulations
ENSafrica, September 2017

The final Default Regulations, issued in terms of section 36 of the Pension Funds Act, 1956, were recently issued by the South African Minister of Finance. They aim to provide retirement funds with greater discretion and flexibility in relation to their default investment portfolios and annuity strategies. To comply with the regulations, many funds will need to amend their rules and investment policy statement...

The income tax implications of a return of capital
ENSafrica, September 2017

In terms of the South African Income Tax Act, 1962 (the “Act”), distributions received by or accrued to a shareholder of a company may constitute either a dividend or a return of capital – each of which would give rise to different tax implications for the shareholder or company concerned...

South African merger filing fees and intermediate merger thresholds to increase from 1 October
ENSafrica, September 2017

On 15 September 2017, the South African Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel, published Government Notices no. 1003 and 1005, which announced increases to the intermediate merger thresholds and merger filing fees. These increases will be effective from 1 October 2017...

New Uganda Insurance Act to overhaul industry
ENSafrica, September 2017

The Insurance Act, 2017 (the “Act”) has recently been enacted to reform the law governing insurance in Uganda. The purpose of the Act is to bring Uganda’s insurance law in line with the Insurance Core Principles (“ICPs”) developed by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors and the Financial Action Task Force recommendations on combating money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism...

Draft South African protection of personal information regulations have arrived
ENSafrica, September 2017

The long-awaited draft South African Regulations Relating to the Protection of Personal Information, 2017 (the “draft Regulations”) were published today, 8 September 2017. Direct marketers have been speculating for years about the manner and form that the regulations will take under section 69(2) of the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (“POPI”)...

Grey market goods – a crime?
ENSafrica, September 2017

The terms “exhaustion of rights”, “parallel imports” and “grey market goods” come up a lot in the world of trade marks. They generally arise in relation to the fact that a company that has authorised the manufacture and sale of goods under its trade mark can’t use trade mark law to stop the sale of those goods by parties with whom it may have no relationship. This issue tends to come up in the context of international trade...

Kim Kardashian West’s trade mark woes and the love-hate relationship between celebrities and IP
ENSafrica, September 2017

The worlds of celebrity and IP intersect with surprising frequency. On the one hand, celebrities such as sportsmen and entertainers can use IP to make themselves even wealthier. On the other hand, celebrities, especially those in fields such as music and film, need to be very aware of the IP rights of others. It’s probably also true to say that the fame and wealth that celebrities enjoy can make them targets for some pretty dodgy IP claims...

Mozambique: beware of trade mark registration cancellations due to overdue declarations
ENSafrica, September 2017

Owners of trade marks in Mozambique should take heed of recent developments in IP rights in the country. While the code governing IP rights in Mozambique does not specifically provide for the cancellation of a trade mark based on non-use, it does require that the proprietor of a registered trade mark file a declaration of intent to use the mark every five years from the date of registation or renewal...

An online store called Glamazon
ENSafrica, September 2017

There’s an interesting trade mark case brewing in Australia, one that has some useful trade mark lessons.Online retail giant Amazon is opposing a trade mark application filed in 2015 by an Australian clothing retailer, Live Clothing, to register the trade mark Glamazon for retail services, including those relating to clothing. On the face of it, this case looks like an absolute “slam-dunk” for Amazon. This case is, however, far from clear...

Trade mark owners: making “tits” of themselves
ENSafrica, September 2017

If we keep writing about it, it’s because it keeps happening. I refer here to trade mark infringement claims that make the news for all the wrong reasons – claims that attract shock and ridicule and evoke support for the person who’s supposed to be the “bad guy”. Interestingly, one of the common terms used by trade mark owners who make these claims is “tarnishment”...

Compliance with the Protection of Personal Information Act: Are You Ready?
ENSafrica, August 2017

The Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (or “POPI” as it has colloquially become known) promotes the protection of personal information by requiring that public and private bodies comply with certain standards when collecting, processing, storing and sharing personal information. While POPI has yet to come into effect, there have been some developments moving it closer to implementation...

New Maritime Policy Approved to Develop the Maritime Transport Sector
ENSafrica, August 2017

In recent months, the South African Minister of Transport gave notice that Cabinet had approved the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy, 2017 (“CMTP”). The CMTP makes certain policy statements in order to develop South Africa’s maritime industry. Below, we summarise certain policy statements that relate to the more commercial aspects of shipping, in the order in which they are dealt with in the CMTP...

New regulations allow for bancassurance in Uganda
ENSafrica, August 2017

The Insurance (Bancassurance) Regulations, 2017 were recently gazetted, giving effect to bancassurance under the Insurance Act, 2017 (which is yet to commence) and the Financial Institutions Act, 2004.The introduction of Bancassurance in UgandaBancassurance refers to an arrangement where an insurance company uses a bank’s sales channels to sell insurance products...

South Africans working abroad – proposed removal of tax exemption
ENSafrica, August 2017

On 19 July 2017, the South African National Treasury released the 2017 Draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill (“draft TLAB”) for public comment. One of the proposals contained in the draft TLAB is the deletion of the exemption for foreign employment income contained in section 10(1)(o)(ii) of the Income Tax Act, 1962 with effect from 1 March 2019...

South African draft tax amendment targets share buybacks
ENSafrica, August 2017

The first draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, 2017 (the “2017 TLAB”) was released on 19 July 2017 for public comment (due by 18 August 2017).Among other things, it is proposed that the current section 22B of the Income Tax Act, 1962 (the “Act”) and paragraph 43A of the Eight Schedule to the Act, be substituted with a new section 22B and paragraph 43A...

Retrospective country-by-country reporting and transfer pricing documentation requirements
ENSafrica, August 2017

South Africans who think that their tax burden is going to decrease because country-by-country (“CbC”) reporting does not apply to their company should think again!In addition to the recently released draft notice requiring the submission of CbC reports, master file and local file returns, the South African Revenue Service (“SARS”) has recently issued the External Business Requirements Specification (“BRS”) document, setting out CbC and Financial Data

Closing window for tax and exchange control relief
ENSafrica, August 2017

The window period for South African residents to regularise their unauthorised foreign assets under the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (“SVDP”) closes on 31 August 2017. The current SVDP is the latest in a series of such opportunities offered by the Financial Surveillance Department of the South African Reserve Bank (“SARB”), beginning with the 2003 exchange control amnesty...

Africa Tax in Brief
ENSafrica, August 2017

BOTSWANA: Amending protocol to treaty with France signedOn 27 July 2017, Botswana and France signed an amending protocol to the Botswana/France Income Tax Treaty, 1999 in Gaborone. CAMEROON: VAT refund procedure available onlineThe Cameroonian Minister of Finance issued a communiqué on 14 June 2017, announcing that the value-added tax (“VAT”) refund procedure has been simplified and is available online as from 3 July 2017 for enterprises registered with the Large Tax Unit...

Mauritius Supreme Court delivers ground-breaking judgment in unfair competition case
ENSafrica, August 2017

The Mauritius Supreme Court, in a decision handed down on 9 August 2017 on the case of Emtel Ltd v The Information and Communication Technologies Authority & Ors, awarded over MUR524-million in damages under article 1382 of the Mauritius Civil Code as a result of the joint “fautes” of the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (the “Authority”), Mauritius Telecom Ltd (“MT”) and Cellplus Mobile Communications Ltd (“Cellplus”)...

Landmark Ugandan Supreme Court ruling on jurisdiction in tax disputes
ENSafrica, August 2017

The Supreme Court has ruled in a landmark case that the Tax Appeals Tribunal (“TAT”) has original jurisdiction to hear tax disputes, and the High Court only has appellate jurisdiction. Until now, the long-established position was that the High Court and the TAT had concurrent jurisdiction and a litigant had discretion to lodge an application with the TAT or file the dispute in the High Court. In Uganda Revenue Authority v Rabbo Enterprises (U) Ltd and Mt...

ICASA intends to regulate data expiry and roll-over
ENSafrica, August 2017

Today, 7 August 2017, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (“ICASA”) published a notice stating its intention to amend the End-user and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations.Of particular interest is the insertion of Regulation 8B, which introduces “out-of-bundle billing practices” and the “expiry of data practices”. The regulations intend to govern the validity period and roll-over of data...

Rent Must Now be Charged in Uganda Shillings
ENSafrica, August 2017

Section 5 of the Income Tax Act (Cap. 340) (the “ITA”) has been amended to, among others, include a requirement that all rental agreements be executed and effected in Uganda shillings.Below, we summarise this new legal requirement.What is the Meaning of the New Requirement?All rental agreements executed after the law comes into force must express the rent in Uganda shillings and must be payable in Uganda shillings.Is the Law in Force?Yes, the law took effect on 1 July 2017...

BMW: Still Shaping Trade Mark Law
ENSafrica, August 2017

It is safe to say that BMW protects its trade marks fiercely. As a result, the company has done more than its fair share to shape South African trade mark law. A recent UK trade mark decision involving BMW will therefore be of considerable interest to businesses in South Africa.In a number of cases involving BMW, South African courts have made it very clear that a trade mark registration is only infringed if a third party makes unauthorised “trade mark use” of that trade mark...

Havaianas: Not a Flop
ENSafrica, August 2017

A recent BBC article entitled “Havaianas: How a Brazilian flip-flop took over the world” doesn’t mention IP once, yet it contains some useful IP lessons...

IP, Religion, Culture and Politics
ENSafrica, August 2017

Colleagues and clients alike often comment on the varied, topical and evolving nature of my field of expertise, IP law, as evidenced from my articles over the years. IP is a field of law that’s forever growing, highly relevant, often fascinating and which deals with everyday tangible issues, brands and products that we encounter in the marketplace and media. Three recent news stories show just how much IP intersects with other worlds...

 

 

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