BEWARE OF CYBER CRIME – IT’S GROWING RAPIDLY AND YOU ARE AT RISK!
Isn’t it terrible how many dangers are lurking out there? One of them is cyber crime and small businesses (with less than 250 staff) are increasingly being targeted. South Africa is particularly vulnerable as we are naive when it comes to protecting our assets, know-how and trade secrets.
DIRECTORS' PERSONAL LIABILITIES: IT’S NOT ALL BAD - THE “BUSINESS JUDGMENT RULE”
Much has been made of how the 2008 Companies Act increased the liabilities of directors. The argument is that as directors were given greater powers in the Act, so their liabilities should also increase.
VAT REGISTRATION BLUES – THERE’S LIGHT ON THE HORIZON!
Registering for Value Added Tax (VAT) has become a slow and frustrating process for taxpayers with more and more documentation and proof required by SARS. The reason given for this by SARS is the amount of fraud and abuse that crept into the registration system where taxpayers would get large upfront VAT refunds.
HARD LABOUR NEEDED AT THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR
The Return of Earnings (ROE) for the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) has been causing problems for accounting firms and their clients. COIDA falls under the Department of Labour (DOL).
DIRECTORS: CHECK YOUR LIABILITY INSURANCE!
The new Companies Act (the Act) became effective in May 2011. It substantially increased directors’ personal liabilities but it allows for companies to take out insurance for directors with some restrictions. This could have a significant effect on your business and on directors’ personal assets.
TAX DISPUTES AND PAY NOW, ARGUE LATER
SARS have long held that if you have an objection to an assessment you must pay your tax and only then - if your objection is upheld - can you get a refund. The option to allow the taxpayer to suspend payment, until the outcome of the objection was known, has been at the discretion of SARS, and in practice this was seldom allowed prior to October 2012.
BEWARE: SOFTWARE PIRACY COULD BE DEVASTATING FOR YOUR BUSINESS
In 2010, 35% of software used in South Africa was “pirated” – either it is downloaded illegally or a counterfeit copy of the software is purchased. The commercial value of this is in excess of R4 billion. It also puts businesses at risk as they are more likely to be exposed to viruses, have no recourse to the owners of the software in the event of it breaking down and take on the risk of being caught by increasingly vigilant owners of software.
DIRECTORS AND SHAREHOLDERS: CAN YOU MEET VIA SKYPE OR EMAIL?
The Companies Act of 2008 (“the Act”) requires that directors live in an era of transparency and accountability, and they can face severe consequences if they cannot show they have applied their minds when situations go awry. Thus, it is important they have a record of how they reached the decisions they made. At the same time, most senior staff have extensive travel commitments and it can frequently be difficult to get all the directors together in one place for a meeting.