Analysing the tax agreements of the exchange of information that exists between the South African government and other government authorities around the world

South Africa had entered into 97 double taxation agreements (at the time of this study in 2014) with other countries which generally contain an article which authorises the exchange of information between South Africa and the treaty partner. The 2008 global financial crisis re-emphasized the increase in tax planning structures as a result of globalisation to avoid or evade taxes and this highlighted the need for a more transparent tax information sharing platform. Since the 2008 economic crisis, one of the key themes has been the attempts to co-ordinate reform of the global financial system in the pursuit of greater international transparency. Since 2012 Treasury started entering into agreements with various other countries to enhance the transparency of taxes paid by entering into exchange of information agreements: these includes the Bilateral Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA) and the Multilateral Mutual Administrative Assistance (MAA) Agreements and the agreement entered into with the United States of America known as the FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) agreement, signed 9 June 2014. This will support the Double Tax Agreement already in place to enhance the information sharing regime. Government Notices 508 and 509, Gazette number 37778, were published on 27 June 2014 in order to facilitate FATCA compliance in terms of the Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011 (TAA) sections 26, 29 and 30. As FATCA is a new agreement, there is a limited overview of the impact of this exchange of information agreement. This report is to gain insight into the reasons for implementing these agreements, an overview of these agreements and the implications of these agreements, with a specific focus on the newest agreement, FATCA.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Commerce (Specialising in Taxation)
FATCA, Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, Double tax agreement, DTA, Exchange of information, Tax information sharing, Bilateral Tax Information Exchange Agreements, TIEA