To hire employees or outsource?

At some point as an entrepreneur growing a small business, this is a decision you will have to make. You cannot do everything by yourself (forever), the more clients you get, the more hands and brains you will need. firstly, what does hiring mean, what responsibility does it leave you with, and even the pros/cons of bringing in independent contractors? This blog will contrast.

According to the Black’s Law Dictionary, an employee is a person who works in the service of another person under a contract of hire, which gives the employer the right to control the details of work performance, while a self-employed (herein Independent Contractor) is a person or entity contracted to perform work for—or provide services to—another entity as a nonemployee.

Now the question is, flexibility or responsibility?

Both contracts have their own Pros and Cons, which we discussed below:

Pros and Cons of hiring an employee:

Before bringing onboarding anyone, you need to understand that extra manpower comes with an array of legal obligations, liabilities, expenses, and paperwork. It’s important to consider hiring when your business is ready for this step, as it comes with responsibility: high turnover, absenteeism, higher healthcare costs, workplace violence, theft, etc.

fig.1. Pros and Cons:

ProsCons
You get the advantage of being able to completely control and direct that person’s work during work timeEmployees come laws and regulations from the federal government and your state regulate the payment of wages or salaries, overtime, etc
Train the person in the way you want the job done.You must also comply with payroll tax requirements.
Require that person to work only for you.And other responsibilities such as payment of unemployment insurance and worker’s compensation insurance.

Pros and Cons of outsourcing independent contractors

This means you will have less time dictating on training, management, and supervision so that you can focus on other tasks and demands of the business.

We have said this previously, having employees means having fixed costs. This particular contract gives you a great competitive advantage, controlled costs, and increased reach. You can get access to capabilities and facilities otherwise not accessible or affordable while saving costs.

fig.2. Pros and Cons:

ProsCons
You have few reporting or tax responsibilities.You can assign duties and impose a deadline but you cannot tell them how to get the job done.
You must report the amount you have paid them each year, but you don’t have to pay FICA taxes. They can work for others and often set his or her hours of work.
Their payroll responsibilities are significantly less than for an employee.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to at what level is your business, hiring is quite a big responsibility. We have talked about this on a blog before that hiring interns helps too. Before you make that decision, you need to have honest money conversations with yourself, the extra time for supervision, etc.

It’s not a train smash if you cannot afford to hire a recruiter to help you find the right talent, you can conduct the interviews yourself, but you also need to prepare yourself to make sure you get as much information as possible and ensure the interviewee is culture fit. All the best if you are about to make that decision, we hope that you found this insightful and that it helps you make an informed decision.

Important things to know about tax in South Africa

Understanding the South African taxation system

To put it in simple terms, tax is a compulsory contribution to state revenue, you must pay South African taxes if you work in South Africa or own a South African business. South Africa uses a residence-based taxation system, non-residents are taxed on South African-sourced income.

Tax money does not only pay for public goods and services, it is also key in the social contract between citizens and the economy. Paying taxes fosters economic growth and development. This is the government’s sources of funding for social programs and public investments.

Understanding taxes: types, filing for returns, refunds from SARS:

There are many different type of taxes. Just to mention a few, some include:

  1. Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
  2. Personal Income Tax
  3. Provisional Tax
  4. Capital Gains Tax
  5. Value Added Tax

Ordinary taxpayers are those who earn a salary from an employer. Your employer should deduct Pay As You Earn (PAYE) from your salary monthly and pay that to SARS on your behalf.

Here’s an example of how your Net Income will look like after taxes

Why SARS issues refunds:

If for instance you take an unpaid leave at work, the payroll administrator has to adjust your tax therein. If the adjustment is not made, it means that your company deducted more tax as it was based on a wrong annual income. In this case, SARS is liable to give you a refund.

The whole point of filing for tax returns is for SARS too determine all your tax, and if you have paid, they conclude on the right amount. If you have overpaid them, they will definitely give you your money back. Understand that, you only get a refund IF you have overpaid because you filed for returns.

Income Tax VS Provisional tax.

Provisional taxpayers have multiple sources of income such as a salary and commission or are business owners or self-employed including freelancers and contract workers. This means that you need to pay taxes even from other activities like renting out a room in your home (e.g. Airbnb), you will have to declare those to SARS when you do your tax return.


SARS has what we call Provisional tax payment which is paid in advance, every six months. This means you pay provisional tax twice a year before your year ends. Just after the year ends, you compare what you have paid already to what you should have paid, and if underpaid there’s a third provisional payment/top-up due 6 months after year-end.

You could be asking, what happens when you pay SARS more than you should have?

…well, that’s okay because SARS will give you a refund after you’ve submitted your year end returns which is due 12 months after your year ends.

On Value Added Tax (VAT)
VAT in South Africa is levied on the consumption of goods and services, the rate is currently 15%. When you bill someone, you charge them VAT and that portion is not your money – you have to pay it to SARS. Businesses must register for VAT in South Africa if their annual turnover exceeds R1 million within a 12-month period. Taxpayers can, however, register on a voluntary basis if their annual supplies exceed R50 000.

When you buy from VAT vendors, you pay the VAT (which belongs to SARS), you’re supposed to get it back on your side because you paid VAT vendors. If for instance you sell items whose VAT element is R1000, and the material is R2000 worth of taxes, it means you paid more VAT than you have charged your customer. You can therefore claim excess herein, and SARS becomes liable to giving you a refund. SARS may request some verifications before paying the refund as the onus to prove such details is on the taxpayer.

A read from Expatica explains that tourists and diplomats visiting South Africa can claim a refund of the VAT they paid on goods purchased in the country. To qualify, you’ll need to be a non-resident foreign passport-holder or a South African passport-holder who is now a permanent resident of another country. You can reclaim VAT when leaving the country by declaring the goods in question to a customs official.

We will, for now close it here. Do reach out to us to learn more about taxes, filing for returns, and compliance.

Can SARS tax you even if your business is not registered?

Can SARS tax you even if your business is not registered?

The answer is YES. If you are running a business that is not registered, you are basically a sole proprietor.


What Is Sole Proprietorship?


A sole proprietorship is defined as a business that is owned and operated by a natural person (individual).

This is considered the simplest form of doing business. It simply means the entity is not legal (registered) and has no existence separate from the owner who is called the proprietor. Although a sole proprietorship can operate under the name of its owner or give a business’ fictitious name, the name does not create a legal entity separate from the sole proprietor owner.


Pros and Cons of Sole Proprietorship


Sole proprietorship obviously has some pros and cons. Here are 3 pros and cons:

Pros:
1️⃣Simple to establish, operate or even discontinue the business.
2️⃣Owner is free to make decisions.
3️⃣Owner receives all the profits.


Cons:
1️⃣The owner is legally liable for all the debts of the business. 
2️⃣​Limited ability to raise capital, which limits the expansion of a business when new capital is required.
3️⃣The owner alone has limited skills, they may need to hire employees with sought-after skills.



What Is Most Tax Efficient?
Sole Proprietorship vs LTD (PTY)

It all boils down to expected earnings from your business.

Individuals are taxed on a sliding scale, which means that the rate of tax you pay increases as your earnings increase. This applies to any individual earning more than R87,300 per tax year.

In a company, profits are taxed at a rate of 28%, irrespective of the value. Plus, dividends tax is levied at 20% on profits retained in the company and distributed as a dividend in the future.

In A Nutshell…

As an individual earns more, you move into the higher tax bracket. The difference in tax between a company and a sole proprietor decreases. At a lower level of taxable income, it’s more tax-efficient to operate as a sole proprietor and enjoy the benefits available to individuals. At higher income brackets, it’s likely that company registration would be more beneficial.

This should help you make a better decision if you were stuck between registering your business and operating it individually. For business registrations and taxes, please do get in touch with us 📲