An investigation of the normal tax consequences for non-resident cloud computing service providers in South Africa

Steenkamp, Shene (2014-12)

Thesis (MAcc)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Cloud computing is a universal occurrence, to which South Africa is no exception. The technology of cloud computing has been the focus of extensive research, but the tax consequences have not been investigated in such research. However, the nature of cloud computing activities, which are conducted via the internet, highlights many difficulties related to taxation. The main taxation-related problems are elicited by the composition of these activities, namely the making available of the cloud by the service provider via the internet and the subsequent use of it by the consumer at any worldwide location. This composition makes the classification of such transactions and the subsequent taxation source determination problematic. Yet, from a South African perspective, there is little assistance regarding these problems. As a result, significant income may escape South African taxation liabilities. The aim of this study was to investigate South African taxation consequences for non-resident1 cloud service providers who conduct activities with residents1 via the internet. The focus of the study was twofold: first, to identify factors, which indicates the classification of cloud computing activities as either a lease, a royalty (or its closely related know-how) or a service; and second, to determine the tax source of each of these classifications. Hence, this study sought to determine whether non-resident cloud service providers could possibly be liable for South African taxation and to identify related challenges that need to be addressed to ensure the collection of such taxes.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Wolkbewerking (“Cloud computing”) is wêreldwye verskynsel wat ook in Suid- Afrika voorkom. Wolkbewerkingstegnologie was al die fokuspunt van omvangryke navorsing, alhoewel die belastinggevolge nog nie in sodanige navorsing ondersoek is nie. Die aard van wolkbewerkingsaktiwiteite, wat via die internet plaasvind, benadruk egter verskeie belastingverwante vraagstukke. Die hoofbelastingvraagstukke word deur die samestelling van hierdie aktiwiteite, naamlik die beskikbaarstelling van die sogenaamde wolk deur die diensverskaffer via die internet en die gevolglike gebruik daarvan deur die verbruiker te enige wêreldwye ligging, uitgelig. Die klassifikasie en daaropvolgende vasstelling van die belastingbron van hierdie aktiwiteite word as gevolg van hierdie samestelling problematies. Tog, vanaf Suid-Afrikaanse perspektief, bestaan min leiding vir hierdie vraagstukke. As gevolg hiervan kan beduidende inkomstebedrae moontlik Suid-Afrikaanse belastingaanspreeklikheid ontsnap. Die doel van hierdie studie was om ondersoek in te stel na die Suid-Afrikaanse belastinggevolge vir nie-inwoner2 wolkdiensverskaffers wat via die internet met inwoners2 handelsaktiwiteite uitvoer. Die fokus van hierdie studie was tweeledig: eerstens om faktore te identifiseer wat die klassifikasie van wolkbewerkingsaktiwiteite as óf huur, óf tantième (of nou-verwante bedryfskennis) óf dienste kan aandui; en tweedens om die belasting bronne van elk van hierdie klassifikasies vas te stel. Gevolglik is daar in hierdie studie gepoog om vas te stel of nie-inwoner wolkdiensverskaffers moontlik vir Suid-Afrikaanse belasting aanspreeklik mag wees en om verwante uitdagings wat aangespreek moet word om die invordering van hierdie belasting te verseker, te identifiseer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/95854
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