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Tax | South Africa

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As local and international tax rules become more complex, and compliance and reporting obligations more onerous, managing these requirements is a significant challenge.  CMS has a multidisciplinary team that monitor developments in tax law and policy which affect our client’s affairs.

We help in developing robust solutions that maximise tax effectiveness and can anticipate future regulatory developments. We will work with you to ensure on-going compliance in your structures and implement the transactions in the best and most compliant manner for our clients.

Our tax services are aimed at achieving the best outcomes for clients, whether they are a financial institution, multinational, fund, corporate investor or high - net worth individual. Our compliance advice is commercial, balanced, cautious, but practical.

Our teams work together across all sectors and all areas of tax affecting your business including: income tax, VAT, customs, transfer pricing, tax structuring and tax disputes.

If you are involved in a dispute, an early intervention with the tax authorities on your behalf can ensure the best outcome for your business.

Tax & Advisory Services

We solve your challenges and create solutions for:

  • applying for the scientific and technological research and development tax incentives 
  • customs and excise
  • drafting advance tax rulings and submitting the necessary applications
  • employee share incentive schemes and other remunerative structures
  • estate planning and donations tax
  • exchange control
  • financing and re-financing advisory
  • international tax advisory 
  • taxation principles in relation to financial instruments and the taxation of derivative instruments
  • tax dispute resolution
  • tax due diligence investigations
  • tax implications of structured finance
  • tax management
  • tax solutions for merger acquisitions, group re-organisations, group rationalizations and general corporate transactional work (including, asset disposals and acquisitions, corporate finance, corporate).

In addition to the above, we provide opinions and advice on the interaction between taxation, exchange control and the legal implementation of transactions. We also prepare applications to Authorised Dealers and the Financial Surveillance department of the South African Reserve Bank and are closely monitoring developments in the change control regime.

High Net-Worth Individuals & Private wealth

Over the years, our team has advised and worked alongside the private wealth divisions of various local and international banks.  

We can assist with:

  • all corporate issues
  • advising on family business affairs & transactions
  • advising on prescription of loans
  • estate planning
  • exchange control for externalising funds
  • foreign trust funding
  • local & Foreign Trust advice
  • realising family businesses, assets & others at optimal tax rates
  • transferring assets into a Trust in a tax efficient manner

Financial Instruments 

A number of  the team members come from a very strong banking law background.  As a result, they have extensive experience with financial transactions, including analysing or developing financial instruments and derivative instruments in a range of commercial scenarios.

Very few tax advisors have had similar exposure to this field, which we are well - versed in and have a good grasp of the legal framework to be applied. 

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CMS RM Partners' team is recognised for corporate tax and disputes, with a strong weighting towards the financial services segment.

Legal 500 | Tax, Tier 4, South Africa, 2020
7 October 2019
CMS ex­pands in Africa
Frank­furt, 7 Oc­to­ber 2019. CMS an­nounces that RM Part­ners and Daly & In­am­dar Ad­voc­ates, based in South Africa and Kenya re­spect­ively, have today joined the lead­ing glob­al law firm. Go­ing for­ward, they will be known as CMS RM Part­ners and CMS Daly In­am­dar Ad­voc­ates.The ad­di­tion of these firms con­sid­er­ably strengthens CMS’s pres­ence in Africa, already en­com­passing An­gola, Al­ger­ia and Mo­rocco. For over 50 years, CMS has de­veloped a track re­cord of sig­ni­fic­ant deals in Africa, show­cas­ing its deep know­ledge of the leg­al sys­tems across the con­tin­ent. CMS now has 75 of­fices in 43 coun­tries and more than 4,800 law­yers world­wide.Duncan We­st­on, Ex­ec­ut­ive Part­ner, CMS said, “Our cli­ents see Africa as a ma­jor growth op­por­tun­ity, and many are look­ing to ex­pand in­to key mar­kets on the con­tin­ent. South Africa and Kenya are both siz­able eco­nom­ies, but they’re also gate­ways in­to oth­er sub-Saha­ran mar­kets. RM Part­ners and Daly & In­am­dar Ad­voc­ates have out­stand­ing repu­ta­tions thanks to their loc­al mar­ket know­ledge and the over­all qual­ity of ser­vice they provide to cli­ents.” With this ex­pan­sion, CMS is un­veil­ing a ded­ic­ated or­gan­isa­tion that brings to­geth­er our Afric­an firms and ex­perts in a unique mod­el and aligned prac­tices to provide our cli­ents with the best sup­port in Africa. CMS Africa has a pres­ence in the most dy­nam­ic re­gion­al hubs – Cas­ab­lanca, Jo­han­nes­burg and Nairobi – provid­ing us with a strong foot­print, sus­tained by of­fices in Al­gi­ers, Lu­anda and Mom­basa. CMS Africa of­fers the ideal al­tern­at­ive for tax and leg­al ser­vices in Africa, a po­s­i­tion that is be­ing re­in­forced through the ad­di­tion of the new firms.CMS RM Part­nersCMS RM Part­ners spe­cial­ises in provid­ing prac­tic­al and in­nov­at­ive leg­al, tax and trans­ac­tion ad­vis­ory ser­vices. It is com­mit­ted to de­vel­op­ing young Afric­an tal­ent and is ac­cred­ited as a Black Eco­nom­ic Em­power­ment (BEE) Level 1 law firm. Foun­ded by seni­or law­yers with ex­cep­tion­al track re­cords from top in­ter­na­tion­al and loc­al firms, the firm is based in Jo­han­nes­burg and com­prises more than 20 law­yers. Its cli­ents in­clude loc­al private and pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions, lis­ted com­pan­ies and nu­mer­ous glob­al en­ter­prises.Riza Moosa, Founder and Dir­ect­or at CMS RM Part­ners, said, “We are on a jour­ney to trans­form and mod­ern­ise the South Afric­an leg­al mar­ket, but we also re­cog­nise the im­port­ance of an Afric­an and in­ter­na­tion­al foot­print. Join­ing CMS is the right step for our firm be­cause they re­cog­nise the im­port­ance of grow­ing an Afric­an busi­ness from Africa, and have a clear, re­gion­ally-fo­cused growth plan for Africa which aligns with our own strategies.”CMS Daly In­am­dar Ad­voc­atesCMS Daly In­am­dar Ad­voc­ates is one of the top-rank­ing law firms in Kenya. It was formed via the mer­ger of two of Kenya’s old­est law firms and com­prises more than 35 law­yers work­ing out of of­fices in Nairobi and Mom­basa. The firm’s part­ners have handled nu­mer­ous ground-break­ing com­mer­cial trans­ac­tions and con­ten­tious civil dis­putes.Ham­ish Keith, Seni­or and Man­aging Part­ner at CMS Daly In­am­dar Ad­voc­ates, said, “Kenya is East and Cent­ral Africa’s epi­centre of tech in­nov­a­tion and its eco­nom­ic ex­pan­sion has been sup­por­ted by a gov­ern­ment that is com­mit­ted to im­ple­ment­ing busi­ness re­forms. Our de­cision to join CMS fol­lows a peri­od of close col­lab­or­a­tion on cli­ent work and a shared com­mit­ment to ser­vice. This will only deep­en as Kenya be­comes in­creas­ingly at­tract­ive as a des­tin­a­tion for for­eign in­vest­ment.”Pierre-Sé­bas­tien Thill, Chair­man, CMS, said, “This is an ex­cit­ing time in the de­vel­op­ment of CMS. Our cli­ents have a glob­al mind­set, and when they come to CMS, they need to know that they can ac­cess qual­ity ad­vice and ser­vice de­liv­ery in every ma­jor jur­is­dic­tion. One of our primary ob­ject­ives for the next four years is to fur­ther grow our geo­graph­ic­al reach. This is a sig­ni­fic­ant ex­pan­sion in our jour­ney to be­com­ing a genu­inely glob­al law firm.”
March 2020
CMS Tax Glob­al Bro­chure
At the start of the 2020s, the roles of cor­por­ate tax plan­ning and reg­u­la­tion are un­der in­creas­ing scru­tiny as ques­tions of eth­ics and cor­por­ate cit­izen­ship con­tin­ue to rise up the com­mer­cial and trade policy agenda.Tax be­ha­viour is now a ma­jor fea­ture of cor­por­ate repu­ta­tion, with in­stant com­mu­nic­a­tion put­ting in­tense pres­sure on in­ter­na­tion­al com­pan­ies to pub­lish in­form­a­tion on how they meet their tax ob­lig­a­tions and man­age tax risks. The EU’s man­dat­ory re­port­ing re­quire­ments for cross-bor­der tax ar­range­ments (the DAC6 re­gime) carry heavy sanc­tions for non-com­pli­ance. With DAC6 be­com­ing fully ap­plic­able across the EU on 1 Ju­ly 2020, dis­clos­ure is a key is­sue for in­ter­me­di­ar­ies, tax­pay­ers and na­tion­al tax au­thor­it­ies.Fisc­al trans­par­ency and fair­ness are key con­cepts not just for en­ter­prises and in­di­vidu­als, but for the gov­ern­ments and fin­an­cial in­sti­tu­tions who com­pete to pro­mote and at­tract in­ter­na­tion­al trade and in­vest­ment. The G20/ OECD pro­ject to tackle base erosion and profit shift­ing (BEPS) has brought to­geth­er over 135 coun­tries in a col­lab­or­at­ive ef­fort to com­bat tax avoid­ance.Di­git­al­isa­tion is a key fo­cus of the BEPS pro­ject. As the glob­al di­git­al eco­nomy con­tin­ues to pro­duce new products, ser­vices and com­mer­cial prac­tices in every sec­tor, it raises a host of new ques­tions for in­ter­na­tion­al tax policies and struc­tures. On­line mar­kets and their tax im­plic­a­tions for do­mest­ic and cross-bor­der trans­ac­tions are hav­ing game-chan­ging ef­fects on how and where busi­ness is done.Many tax au­thor­it­ies are ramp­ing up their en­force­ment ac­tions, armed with stiffer pen­al­ties and a more tar­geted ap­proach to in­vest­ig­a­tions. The net res­ult? Tax­pay­ers of dif­fer­ent kinds – mul­tina­tion­als, fin­an­cial in­sti­tu­tions, funds, in­vestors and high net worth in­di­vidu­als – are fa­cing in­creased tax risks and pres­sures. The right ad­vice can make all the dif­fer­ence. Ex­perts can help you shape your strategy, man­age the risks and make the most of the op­por­tun­it­ies in the tax land­scape of the 2020s.

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12 May 2020
Re­vital­ised Sars vi­tal in a time of ra­ging cor­rup­tion
Tax law­yer & ex­pert, Bern­ard Mo­fokeng, breaks down the im­pact of the SA Budget 2019. Read more here!
25 March 2020
CMS Ex­pert Guide to COV­ID-19 Tax Re­lief Meas­ures
18 June 2020
Sec­tion 12J VCC We­bin­ar
Jaltech, a Ven­ture Cap­it­al Com­pany Ad­vis­ory Ser­vices, along with CMS South Africa, will be host­ing a Sec­tion 12J in­dustry-fo­cused we­bin­ar on Thursday, 18 June 2020.
12 May 2020
SA firms and SOEs need more than gov­ernance tick-boxes
En­sur­ing good gov­ernance in the private and pub­lic sec­tors is vi­tal to the long-term health of the SA eco­nomy. Read more here!
7 April 2020
Tax Con­nect Flash
23 March 2020 Emer­gency Act No. 2020-290 de­clared COV­ID-19 state of health emer­gency ap­plic­able over the next 2 months fol­low­ing en­force­ment (i.e. 24 March), sub­ject to ex­ten­sion or early ter­min­a­tion. Art­icle 11 au­thor­ises the Gov­ern­ment to le­gis­late by m