Davis to head new tax committee

The body is mandated with evaluating the SA tax system against internationally accepted trends.

The body is mandated with evaluating the SA tax system against internationally accepted trends. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Judge Dennis Davis has been appointed as the chairperson of the new Tax Review Committee.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says the body is mandated with evaluating the South African tax system against internationally accepted trends in a bid to improve compliance.

Speaking on The Money Show on Wednesday evening, Davis explained what the committee would be doing in the coming months and years.

He says a major function will be to evaluate the current tax structure and to see if it can raise enough revenue to fund government projects.

Davis says the committee's terms of reference are broad, but he is confident it will give an independent assessment of economic policy.

"We basically have to behave in an independent fashion, which we will, and come up with a series of concrete proposals.

"[We will] hopefully initiate a rational and really sensible conversation in the country about tax and the role of taxation in our Constitutional objectives."

The judge said the role of taxation in achieving the county's Constitutional aims would also be an important issue.

Though he didn't choose the committee members, Davis was pleased with the choices and variety of views.

"All of them are independent [and] they all have their own views," he said, adding that, "This is not a committee, thank goodness, which is going to punt a particular line."

Davis said in addition to the members, there would be a number of relevant industry players and academics who would have a role in the committee's work.

He conceded that such work could take a long time, but said he hoped to address some issues as soon as possible.

"I have undertaken to ensure that we will have an interim report by the end of the year."

Deloitte Tax Director Billy Joubert and Rhodes University's Prof. Matthew Lester both responded to Davis's comments after the interview. Listen to the accompanying audio at the top of the page for their analysis.