5 predictions for Budget 2017

Finance minister Pravin Gordhan will on Wednesday deliver the 2017 Budget amid slow growth and high unemployment.

The minister is expected to lay out a plan to draw in R28 billion more in tax revenue over the next two years.

Absa spoke to Chris Gilmour, Investment Analyst at the group’s Absa Wealth and Investment Management division – where he shared his top five predictions for the Budget 2017:

  • VAT will remain unchanged at 14%

The last time VAT was adjusted, was in 1994. According to Gilmour, another adjustment in this day and age would be deemed politically indefensible because of the repercussions this would have – especially on the poor.

This means that the amount of VAT you pay when purchasing goods or services, will remain unchanged – though prices will probably still increase due to inflation.

  • The top marginal tax rate will increase

Tax payers who fall in the top tax bracket – meaning that they earn more than R701 301 annually, currently pay 41% tax. Gilmour predicts that this margin will be increased by as much as 4% in the 2017/2018 financial year.

This means that South Africans who earn the most, will have less money to spend on goods and services each month. “But that is the price that one has to pay to soothe ratings agencies and other constituents.”

  • Social grants will be slightly increased

This includes monthly grants for old age (R1,500), child support (R350) and disability (R1 500). Gilmour predicts that there will once again, just like last year, be a small increase in these amounts.

“We’re talking about the poorest of the poor. People who can barely afford to get by. While last year’s increases were barely in line with inflation, at least it would be some attempt to put food on the table.”

  • Tax incentives to encourage corporates to invest in new infrastructure developments

This is a win-win situation for everyone involved. A large percentage of the economy is in the hands of South African corporates, so encouraging businesses to spend some of that money on developing and maintaining infrastructure around them. In turn, government will be offering tax breaks.

This means that sustainable jobs will be created, that will help grow the economy, and ensure the upkeep and development of our cities. “This has been looked at in the past year or two, and hopefully now is the time that we’ll see it happening.”

  • Widening the scope for sugar tax

In last year’s Budget Speech, the taxation of sweetened drinks was announced for the first time in South Africa. “There is an opportunity for government to expand that additional taxation to other relevant areas and confectionary.”

This means that people are likely to look for other ways to satisfy their thirst, and thus have a dampening effect on the corporations involved. On the other side of the spectrum, it could also encourage South Africans to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Read: Where Gordhan will find R28 billion in additional tax revenue in 2017

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5 predictions for Budget 2017