Tax deductible expenses for businesses in South Africa

Do you know the saying that says “money makes the world go round”? Well, so does tax – it makes the country go round. We have a couple of blogs that explain the tax system in South Africa, which we will link down below for you. In this blog, specifically, we will share with you various tax-deductible expenses in your business to help you lower your taxes. 

For context’s sake, TAX DEDUCTIBLE is an item you can subtract from your taxable income to lower the amount of taxes you owe. Let’s suppose you earned R100,000 during the tax year and spent R20,000 on company items. In this example, your taxable business income would be R80,000 instead of R100,000, lowering your tax bill for the year.

Day-to-day business expenses

These are general day-to-day office or business expenses, they are incurred as part of running your business, these include:

  • Employee costs and administration costs
  • Business/office rental costs
  • Office supplies
  • Phone costs
  • Travel and transport, including business vehicle costs
  • Uniforms (if needed)
  • Wholesale purchase costs for goods resold
  • Financial charges (such as bank fees), utilities
  • Legal fees
  • Insurance fees
  • Marketing, advertising, and promotion costs

Wear–and tear (in respect of certain assets)

Also known as depreciation, a wear and tear allowance may be deducted on movable assets used for the purpose of trade. There are no statutory provisions relating to rates of wear and tear, but the SARS has published a table of periods over which the assets may be written off. The rates of wear and tear, based on the cash cost, are calculated either according to the straight-line or diminishing-balance method.

Donations (to approved bodies)

Donations to certain charitable organizations approved as public benefit organizations are tax-deductible, up to a maximum of 10% of taxable income.

Bad debts

Bad debts are tax-deductible if they are owed at the end of the assessment year and they relate to an amount that has been included in the taxpayer’s taxable income in any tax year. Regarding questionable debts, a tax deduction is also offered.

If the loan was made as part of a money-lending business, any bad debts that result from it are deductible.

Education expenses

You can deduct the cost of schooling for yourself or your employees that are directly related to running your firm as a business expense.

Net operating losses

Any losses incurred in the same business in previous years can be carried forward as a tax deduction.


According to SARS, here are some deductions your employees can save from: 

Tax-deductible expenses for Salaries:

Pension fund contributions

Retirement annuity fund contributions

Provident fund contributions (only from 1 March 2016)

Legal costs – under certain qualifying circumstances

Repayable amounts – amount received for services rendered as refunded by that person

If you need any help with TAXES, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us:

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