New regulations to get even people who do not own a TV set to pay a television licence fee could be the final straw for taxpayers.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation ( SABC) wants pay-TV service providers, such as MultiChoice ( DStv) and videoproviders, such as Netflix, Showmax (owned by MultiChoice), Amazon Prime and Apple TV, to collect TV licences on its behalf.
If you watch programmes on streaming services on your laptop, tablet or smartphone, the SABC wants you to pay.
However, Johan Troskie, an independent tax lawyer, says this indirect tax will push taxpayers to the brink, where they will decide to simply stop paying or find ways to pay less.
“Many people already do not pay their television licence fees and fee collection is already bad.
“In addition, paying tax in South Africa is closely linked to tax morality, where citizens feel that government is not keeping up their side of the silent agreement that they pay tax and get services back and that their tax money is used honestly and fairly.”
Troskie wonders if citizens are not at the stage where they have already had enough.
“This is very dangerous for government. Every time money is lost through theft and corruption, government seems to turn to the taxpayer first.
“Instead, the state should first show us what it is doing about theft and corruption and not only talk about it.”
South Africans are already paying indirect tax – on donations tax, estate duty, capital gains tax, dividend tax, emissions tax, sugar tax, property tax, levies on electricity and fuel, car licenses and cigarettes and liquor.
Now, the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act is planning to charge R100 to issue a fine and the SABC also wants more licence fees.
“We understand that we are in an economic crisis, but it is not only because of the [coronavirus] pandemic, but due to misuse of funds and mismanagement,” he says.
– The Citizen