High Court Judgments 2022-2020

The judgments delivered in any of the High Court Divisions on this page are arranged per year and then per date of delivery.
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2021 ​ ​ ​

Date of Delivery ​Parties Involved ​Applicable Legislation ​Keywords/Summary
​​15 February 2021
Medtronic International Trading SARL v CSARS (33400/2019) ​Value-Added Tax Act, 1991 ​Value-added tax; whether the provisions of the voluntary disclosure agreement prohibit a request for remission of interest under
section 39(7) of the VAT Act 89 of 1991
​2 February 2021 ​​PriceWaterhouseCoopers Inc and Another v Minister of Finance and Another (25705/2019) ​Value-Added Tax Act, 1991 ​Value-added tax; this matter involved a constitutional law challenge brought by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Inc. and PwC Partnership in respect of section 39(7) of the VAT Act 89 of 1991, on the basis of the following two grounds:
  1. It is contended that
    section 39(7) of the VAT Act is irrational and offends the principle of legality.
  2. It is further contended that section 39(7) of the VAT Act violates the right not to be arbitrarily deprived of property under section 25(1) of the Constitution.
​12 January 2021 Mobile Telephone Networks (Pty) Limited v CSARS (79960/2019) ​Tax Administration Act, 2011

Value-Added Tax Act, 1991
​Tax administration; value-added tax; whether section 10(18) of the Value-Added Tax Act, 1991 (VAT Act), applied to the supply of multi-purpose /airtime vouchers; Mobile Telephone Networks (MTN) brought a declaratory order requesting the high court to determine the correct application of section 10 of the VAT Act on the supply of multi-purpose /airtime vouchers; MTN was of the view that section 10(18) applied, meaning that they only had to account for value-added tax (VAT) at the time the voucher was redeemed; SARS's view is that section 10(19) applies to the supply of these vouchers, meaning VAT must be accounted for at the time of supply of the voucher. The court confirmed SARS's application of section 10(19); the supply by MTN of airtime vouchers fell with the provisions of section 7(1)(a) of the VAT Act and attracted VAT at time of supply; the judgment is important as it confirms the VAT treatment of vouchers, which have become a popular means of transacting



2020 ​ ​ ​

Date of Delivery ​Parties Involved ​Applicable Legislation ​Keywords/Summary
​4 December 2020 CSARS v Zikhulise Cleaning Maintenance and Transport CC (14886/2016), Mpisane v Zikhulise Cleaning Maintenance and Transport CC and Another (181010/2016) ​Tax Administration Act, 2011 ​Whether leave to appeal the judgment of Colllis J (14 October 2020) should be granted; Collis’s judgment confirmed the final liquidation order in Zikhulise Cleaning Maintenance and Transport CC; Leave to appeal was dismissed with costs; the reasoning for the dismissal of the application was that there was no reasonable prospect that another court would come to a different conclusion
​20 November 2020 Mat Chem CC v CSARS (7139/2019) Customs and Excise Act,  1964
​Customs & Excise; ​
sections 47(9)(a)(i)(bb) and 75(5); applicant sought the court to change the determination made by SARS by remitting the amount imposed under section 88(2); court noted that the applicant did not have an issue with the determination itself but its complaint was that the internal administrative appeal committee failed to remit the forfeiture amount imposed under section 88(2) even though the transfer of the goods as part of the business sale was done in good faith and despite its offer to pay the duty and VAT on the goods; applicant’s appeal brought under section 47(9) dismissed with costs
​5 November 2020
Rappa Resources (Pty) Ltd v CSARS (20/18875) ​Tax Administration Act, 2011 ​Tax administration; value-added tax (VAT); sections 11(4) and 190; applicant seeking order instructing SARS to pay VAT refunds in full or, in the alternative, 50% thereof pending review of SARS’s decision to withhold said refunds; applicant also applying for order instructing SARS to complete its audit within 15 days and to cease withholding further refunds; SARS applying to have its replying affidavit kept confidential and to have matter heard in camera; court dismissing the latter  application; given urgency of matter, applicant’s application to have its failure to comply with section 11(4) condoned; SARS ordered to make payment of refunds to extent that security can be provided and to complete its audit by 11 December 2020; costs awarded against SARS 
​30 October 2020 Van der Merwe v CSARS (A322/2019)

Minority judgment included
​Tax Administration Act, 2011 ​Tax administration; sections 117(3), 129 and 133(1); whether the rulings or orders made by the Tax Court in respect of the application for condonation and the striking out are appealable; whether the granting of the condonation to SARS was, on the facts, justified; whether the failure to have the striking out application properly ventilated vitiated the proceedings; matter concerns two interlocutory applications made in the tax court which were taken on appeal by the taxpayer to the high court; additional assessment for 2014 issued on 17.02.2016; if exceptional circumstances existed, taxpayer had until 16.02.2019 to lodge objection; SARS condoning late objection; SARS failing to respond to objection and taxpayer appealing to the tax court for default judgment; SARS failing to file statement of grounds of assessment; SARS withdrawing condonation of late objection; SARS contending that assessment was not appealable because it emanated from an agreed assessment; SARS filing its answering affidavit a week late with tax court and failing to lodge application for condonation of late filing; tax court summarily condoning late filing without being shown reasonable grounds with good cause; appellant arguing that SARS’s answering affidavit contained hearsay evidence that should be struck out; tax court not considering striking out application; high court finding by a majority that tax court had erred; appeal upheld with costs
​​14 October 2020 CSARS v Zikhulise Cleaning and Maintenance and Transport Service (14886/16) [2020]; Mpisane v Zikhulise Cleaning and Maintenance and Transport CC and another (18101/16) [2017] ​Tax Administration Act, 2011

Companies Act, 1973
​Tax administration; liquidation; whether a final winding up order should be granted, taking into account the provisions of section 177(3) of the Tax Administration Act, and section 346 of the Companies Act; judgment confirmed the process in respect of section 177(3) of the Tax Administration Act, confirming what is required by SARS when bringing an application to place a company into liquidation, where the assessment is under objection and/or appeal; provided SARS includes a prayer for leave of the court to bring the application in its notice of motion it has complied with the provisions of section 177(3); judgment dealt extensively with the requirements for granting a final liquidation order in terms of section 346 of the Companies Act, 1973; on the just and equitable issue, the court noted that respondent had ceded its contracts to the detriment of its creditors; responded solely reliant on State tenders, yet failed to comply with its legislative and constitutional obligations to pay the fiscus its dues; applicant granted leave in terms of section 177(3) to institute these proceedings; the point in limine raised by the respondent in terms of section 347(5) dismissed with costs, including the costs consequent upon the employment of three counsel; rule nisi issued by Ranchod J on 22 August 2019 confirmed and respondent placed under final winding-up; respondent ordered to pay the costs of the application, including the costs of three counsel
​12 October 2020 CSARS v The Executor of the Estate of Late Ndlovu (A395/2016) ​Tax Administration Act, 2011

Income Tax Act, 1962
​Tax administration; income tax; appeal from the tax court; taxpayer, a director, exercising option to acquire shares and disposing of shares; taxpayer failing to declare resulting gain in tax return and SARS imposing 10% penalty under section 76(1)(b) of the Income Tax Act, plus interest under section 89quat(2) of the Income Tax Act; tax court reducing penalty to nil and permitting taxpayer to appeal against imposition of section 89quat interest despite taxpayer raising this as a ground for the first time on appeal; on appeal to the high court: Court reinstating 10% penalty and refusing to admit appeal against section 89quat interest and in any event, taxpayer not having shown reasonable grounds for the interest to be waived; appeal upheld with costs
​12 October 2020 Bennett and Another v The State (SARS funding prosecution) (SS 40/2006) ​Tax Administration Act, 2011 ​Whether Judge Spilg should recuse himself from presiding over the criminal trial of Gary Porritt and Sue Bennett; SARS is funding the prosecution of the trial as it involves inter alia tax fraud amongst the charges; accused brought a recusal application, after an article appeared in Noseweek disclosing a "SARS Naughty List" which included Judge Spilg's name and reflected he owed SARS a substantial amount in tax, in 2002; SARS was unable to verify the authenticity of the list but was able to confirm that in 2002 Judge Spilg's tax affairs were up to date and never owed SARS the amount alleged; The judgment deals with the requirements that need to be met for a recusal to be considered and held that the application failed to make out a case for recusal; the application was dismissed
​11 September 2020 CSARS and Joint Liquidators of Greenbridge Group (Pty) Ltd (in Provisional Liquidation) v Van Zyl (16604/2019) ​Tax Administration Act, 2011

Insolvency Act 24, 1936

Supreme Court Act, 1959 
​Tax administration; insolvency; Uniform Rules of the Court; section 172 of the Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011; section 12 of Insolvency Act 24 of 1936; rule 35 of the Uniform Rules of Court; respondent placed in provisional sequestration on 2 July 2020; about a month before the return date respondent bringing application for discovery of documents held by SARS under rule 35(13) and requesting postponement of sequestration; Court finding that exceptional circumstances did not exist and that respondent's interlocutory application was a delaying mechanism and dismissing application; court finding that respondent guilty of various acts of insolvency and placing respondent's estate in final sequestration
​11 September 2020 Graspan Colliery SA (Pty) Ltd v CSARS (8420/18) ​Customs & Excise Act, 1964

Value-Added Tax Act, 1991
​Customs & excise; value-added tax; the interpretation and application of Note 3(f)(iii) of Schedule 6 to the Customs and Excise Act and whether the rehabilitation conducted by the applicant was primary production activities in mining which qualify for a diesel refund; the applicant claimed a diesel refund in its Value-Added Tax  201 Forms (VAT Returns) for diesel purchased and used by Sandton on the Steel Coal Mine owned by Wakefield Investments (Pty) Ltd ; whether such claim constituted a misrepresentation as contemplated in section 44(11)(a) of the Customs & Excise Act, and therefore whether SARS was entitled to reclaim the diesel refund for a period earlier than the two years prior to the date which the investigation commenced; whether Note 5 in Part 3 of Schedule 6 to the Customs & Excise Act was applicable and if so, whether the Commissioner correctly disallowed the applicant to claim the diesel refund in its own name for the period 15 August 2013 to 31 August 2013 while the mining activities were, during that period, conducted by Shanduka; the sufficiency of the records furnished by the applicant in support of its claim for a diesel refund
31 August 2020 Cart Blanche Marketing CC and Others v CSARS (26244/2015) ​Tax Administration Act, 2011

Customs & Excise Act, 1964
​Tax administration; customs & excise; interpretation of section 40 of the Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011 considered and discussed; whether the decision to select taxpayers for audits, in the context of the facts of this case, should be reviewed on the basis of the principle of legality; held that ripeness and the principle of subsidiarity posing obstacles in reviewing the decision; selection of the taxpayers taken on a 'risk assessment' basis and court concluding decision not unlawful
even assuming legality review competent
​25 August 2020 Absa Bank Limited and Another v CSARS (21825/19) ​Tax Administration Act, 2011

Supreme Court Act, 1959
​Tax administration; rules of the Court; Whether it was appropriate to grant leave to the applicant to amend its notice of motion
​25 August 2020 Purveyors South Africa Mine Services (Pty) Ltd v CSARS (61689/2019) ​Tax Administration Act, 2011

Value-Added Tax Act, 1991
​Tax administration; value-added tax; sections 226 and 227 of the Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011; applicant importing aircraft into South Africa and becoming liable for import VAT; applicant subsequently having reservations about its VAT liability and approaching SARS on the matter;  SARS advising applicant that it was liable for VAT and penalties; applicant subsequently applying to SARS for voluntary disclosure relief under section 226; SARS advising that applicant had not met the requirements of section 227; Court finding that disclosure was not voluntary as SARS was already aware of the information; application dismissed with costs
​19 August 2020 WPD Fleetmas CC v CSARS and Another (31339/20) ​Tax Administration Act, 2011 ​Tax administration; section 179;
applicant supplying Impala Platinum Ltd (Impala) with underground winch signalling device systems and remunerated monthly; SARS serving third party notice on Impala under section 179; Impala acting on such notice and paying approximately R6 million to SARS; applicant contending that final demand served on it after issue of third party notice and thus section 179(5) not complied with; SARS contending that final demand sent before third party notice via efiling system but court not persuaded; court finding that section 179(5) not complied with and ordering SARS to refund applicant with interest; Court refusing to interdict SARS from continuing with recovery steps against applicant
​13 August 2020 Pearlstock (Pty) Ltd v CSARS (83481/18) Customs & Excise Act, 1964​​ ​Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964; section 47(9); customs duty; tariff appeal; applicant importing PVC panels consisting of polymers of vinyl chloride; whether such panels to be classified under TH 3916.20.90 (other plastics of PVC) attracting customs duty at 18% (as contended by SARS) or under TH 3921.12 (plastics of cellular PVC), attracting customs duty at 10% (as contended by applicant); Court finding in favour of applicant
​27 July 2020 CSARS and Another v Alves (A194/2019) ​Customs & Excise Act, 1964​​

Superior Courts Act, 2013
​Customs & excise; section 16(2) of the Superior Courts Act 10 of 2013; appeal against decision of court a quo which had authorised return of a vehicle detained by SARS under section 88(1)(a)[3] of the Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964; sole issue whether the court a quo correctly declared that SARS failed to finalise the investigations under section 88 in reasonable time; vehicle in the meanwhile lawfully seized and forfeited to the state; court finding that matter had become moot; appeal dismissed
​21 July 2020 BP Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd v CSARS (19955/2020; 22772/2020) ​Customs & Excise Act, 1964 ​Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964;  
section 114(1)(a)(ii); applicant importing distillate fuel which was stored at a warehouse at the refinery; applicant paying  import duty when fuel left the warehouse; some of the fuel was destined for export  and applicant sought a refund through set-off against import duties once exportation completed; applicant, however, failing to produce documentation proving export of fuel and SARS refusing set-off; SARS obtaining civil judgment against applicant; applicant bringing urgent applications for refund of import duties; Court finding that applications not urgent and that applicant had failed to produce the required documentation justifying a refund; Case dismissed with costs
​15 May 2020 Barnard Labuschagne Inc v SARS and Another (23141/2017) ​Tax Administration Act, 2011 ​Tax administration; rescission of judgment under section 172; SARS statement under section 172, effect of civil judgment; finality of section 172 statement; constitutionality of sections 172 and 174
​6 May 2020 Joseph Nyalunga v CSARS (90307/2018) ​Tax Administration Act, 2011

Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000
​Tax administration; reviewing and setting aside of assessments; sections 95(1), 100(1)(a) and (b),
104(5), 105(a) of the Tax Administration Act
​30 April 2020 Toneleria Nacional RSA (Pty) Ltd v CSARS (1042/2018) ​Customs & Excise Act, 1964 ​Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964; section 47(9)(e); Customs duty; tariff classification; wooden planks suspended in steel containers for purpose of maturing wine; such planks used as alternative to more expensive oak barrels; Commissioner contending that such planks should be classified under TH 4409.29.90 (Wood, including strips and friezes for parquet flooring and so on) and attract duty at 10%, while applicant contending that they should be classified under TH 4416.00 (Casks, barrels, vats, tubs and other coopers), which are duty free; Court finding in applicant’s favour after applying the ‘always speaking’ doctrine of interpretation
​​29 April 2020 SIP Project Managers (Pty) Ltd v CSARS (11521/2020) ​​Tax Administration Act, 2011 ​Tax administration; section 179;
Rule 3(2)(b)(ii) of the Rules for Electronic Communications;
SARS withdrawing funds from applicant’s bank account after appointing bank as agent in order to settle tax debt; Court finding that SARS had not delivered a final demand to the applicant prior to appointing bank as agent by uploading same to applicant’s efiling profile; In addition, court noting that the final demand was issued before the tax debt was due and payable and thus invalid; Court accordingly finding in applicant’s favour
​14 April 2020 HMT Projects (Pty) Ltd v CSARS (7215/2018) ​Customs and Excise Act, 1964 ​Customs and Excise; section 47 and Schedule 1; customs duty; tariff classification of imported seamless carbon steel pipes; general rule that goods are characterised by their objective characteristics and not by intention with which made or use to which put; despite importer putting line pipes of carbon steel to high temperature use, such use still conveyance of petroleum product by way of a pipeline- tariff heading 7304.19 applicable; tariff appeal refused
​​​23 March 2020 CSARS v Public Protector and Others (84074/19) Public Protector Act, 1994

Tax Administration Act, 2011
​Public Protector Act 23 of 1994: section 11(3) read with section 7(4)(a); Tax Administration Act, 2011: section 69(1); Public Protector, relying on the Public Protector Act, served subpoena on Commissioner for SARS to provide taxpayer information relating to former President Zuma; whether on a proper interpretation of the relevant and Constitutional and or legislative provisions, SARS's refusal to provide the relevant information is unlawful; Court finding that Public Protector's subpoena powers do not extend to taxpayer information; Costs awarded against Public Protector; Public Protector ordered to personally pay 15% of SARS's costs 
17 February 2020 Medtronic International v CSARS (33400/19) ​Tax Administration Act, 2011

Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000

Supreme Court Act, 1959
​Rule 30A(1) of the High Court rules; record of review proceedings is still to be determined by relevance; relevance is not dependant upon the pleaded issues in the initial review
application; relevance remains to be determined by the decision sought to be reviewed; whether CSARS should have included internal e-mail correspondence between staff as part of the record in a Rule 53 review application
​12 February 2020 Peresoft Software and Support (Pty) Ltd v Minister of Science and Innovation (NO) and Another (11372/19)​ ​Income Tax Act, 1962

Promotion of
Administrative Justice Act, 2000
​Income tax; section 11D income tax incentive; applicant carrying on business as developer of specialised computer software; Committee operating under Minister of Science and Innovation refusing to approve project involving development of web-enabled cashbook integrated with accounting software for purposes of the 150% R&D deduction under section 11D; Court emphasising importance of providing adequate reasons for administrative decisions; Court finding that committee's decision based on incorrect interpretation of section 11D and referring taxpayer's application back for adjudication; applicant to be supplied with guidelines followed by committee in making its decision
11 February 2020 ​Alfdav Construction CC v SARS (399/2017)
​Value-Added Tax Act, 1991

Supreme Court Act, 1959
​Value-added tax; application brought under rule 42 of the Uniform Rules of Court to have earlier judgment amended to the effect that the VAT returns must be resubmitted within 60 days without incurring any penalties and interest; applicant earlier having admitted liability for such penalties and interest and having entered into deferred payment arrangement with SARS in respect thereof, thus rendering issue moot; application dismissed with costs
Last Updated: 18/02/2021 3:45 PM     print this page
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