A person who earns remuneration income (which is not derived mainly from commission) cannot claim professional subscription fees against the income received. This deduction is prohibited in terms of section 23(m) of the Income Tax Act. For example, a doctor working for a hospital or a practising accountant in a firm of accountants employed under an employment contract would generally not be entitled to this deduction.
The deduction of professional subscription fees, however, can be claimed by a person who earns, for example, business income or remuneration generated mainly in the form of commission, provided the expense is in the production of trade income and is not capital in nature. For example, a practising accountant running his or her own accounting business is generally entitled to claim the annual subscription he or she pays to the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. The restrictions of section 23(m) will not apply to such persons. For further information on the application of section 23(m), please refer to Interpretation Note No 13.