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Register for VAT

VAT registration can be a lengthy and frustrating process. Learn how to make it less so.

Juliet Pitman



Women on a laptop

You’ve started a small business and things are going well. Better than you expected, in fact. You’re making money and are delighted with your progress, celebrating as your turnover inches past R100 000, R200 000 and eventually R300 000 within a couple of months. It’s every start-up business owner’s dream, and nothing should mar your enjoyment of success – provided you are aware of your tax obligations.

According to the SA Revenue Service (SARS), a business owner/taxpayer is defined in this way: “Any person who carries on an enterprise and whose total value of taxable supplies (taxable turnover) exceeds, or is likely to exceed, R300 000 in any 12-month period, must register for VAT.”

From the date that your business exceeds the R300 000 turnover mark – that is, from the date of liability – you have 21 days to register. And if you reasonably expect it to exceed this amount, you also need to register. So, if your business is fast approaching the R300 000 mark and you are still within the 12-month period, be aware of your pending liability.

This type of VAT registration is compulsory. You can also register for VAT voluntarily in certain instances if the taxable supplies of your enterprise exceed R20 000 in a 12-month period. Being registered necessarily adds another administrative load to your business, but it does mean that you can claim back VAT in certain instances.

For compulsory VAT registration, you need to complete a VAT 101 form and submit it to your local SARS office, along with the required documentation, a list of which can be obtained off the SARS website. In theory, the application should take 21 working days, but it can take a lot longer if there are problems with documentation. Submitting the incorrect documents with your registration can lead to seemingly endless delays in obtaining your VAT registration number, and for this reason it is often wise to make use of the services of a tax consultant.

If you decide to send the application in yourself, be proactive. Follow up with SARS to check what stage your application is at. Ask if there are any problems and whether you need to send them any further documentation. If you don’t follow up and there is a problem, there’s a chance SARS will simply mail the application back to you and you’ll have to start the process all over again.

You can check if your registration has been processed by entering your details under “VAT vendor search” on the SARS website. The website states: “SARS employees are not allowed to advise you verbally of your VAT number. If you have not yet received your certificate and require some proof of registration, you can request the local branch office to give you a letter confirming this fact.”

SARS suggests that you allow at least 10 working days for the local branch office to process your documents. They will post the certificate to the postal address given on your registration application within two weeks of your application being processed. For more information, visit

New VAT Legislation

The new amendment to the Act, Section 20 (4), states that the following information must be given on all tax invoices:

  1. The words “tax invoice” must appear prominently on the invoice
  2. The name and address of the supplier must be given
  3. The VAT registration number of the supplier must be given, if the supplier is VAT registered
  4. The name and address of the recipient must be given
  5. The VAT registration number of the recipient must be given, if the recipient is VAT registered
  6. The invoice must have an original, serialised number and clearly show the date on which it was issued
  7. A full description of the goods or services supplied must be given
  8. The quantity and/or volume of the goods supplied must be given
  9. Where VAT is exclusive, the VAT amount must be indicated separately
  10. Where VAT is included in the total, the amount of the tax charged must be reflected, or a statement that VAT is included and the percentage at which it is included must be reflected

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

Entrepreneur Today

Empowering Township Entrepreneurs

Big drive to bring ideas to life in the townships this Global Entrepreneurship Week.





As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Experian teamed up with Rhiza Babuyile and Township Fleva – two organisations responsible for supporting township communities – to assist entrepreneurs in transforming their innovative ideas into thriving businesses.

The annual event ‘Tshogo’, which took place in Tembisa yesterday (Thursday, 15 November), is the culmination of roadshows in Gauteng’s populated townships, such as Diepsloot and Orange Farm. These involved up-and-coming start-ups pitching their business ideas to a panel of experienced judges, including Simon Rudman, Social Innovation Lead at Experian SA.

Twenty winners received funding to the combined value of R280 000 to kickstart their business venture, while our others received marketing packages to equip them – and their ventures – further.

“Throughout the competition we were greatly inspired by each and every one of the entrants. There is definitely no scarcity of bright ideas,” says Rudman. “By keeping our entrepreneurs top of mind and providing continuing support, we can grow the township economy for the greater good of the country.”

Experian is pleased to support Rhiza Babuyile, by providing the JoZi Business Hub participants with career counselling as well as credit and financial education aimed at empowering and equipping entrepreneurs with the financial know-how to manage and grow their business and to make smart credit decisions.

“We believe data has the power to transform lives and societies for the better and our corporate social responsibility programmes pioneer how we use our business skills, products and services to promote financial education, financial inclusion and support small business entrepreneurs.

Related: FNB Kicks-off Global Entrepreneurship Week By Engaging Township Entrepreneurs

“These engagements also provide a great opportunity for us to include the entrepreneurs in our solution development process. Their feedback is invaluable in helping to shape products which will hopefully contribute to their success”, adds Rudman.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is a celebration of innovators and job creators who launch start-ups that bring ideas to live and drive economic growth. The JoZI Business Hub’s Tshogo roadshow could not be a better example of this in action.

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Entrepreneur Today

Call For Applications: Young Entrepreneurs Global Exposure Trips

Closing Date: 30 November 2018





Investec CSI’s Young Entrepreneurs Programme provides South African entrepreneurs from various sectors with global exposure.

Every year Investec, in partnership with En-novate, sends a group of young entrepreneurs from various sectors to specifically selected countries in order to gain global exposure. Each itinerary provides them with opportunities to network and engage with venture capitalists, funders and captains of their specific industry. The aim is for them to gain learning and exposure to innovation, technology and process advancements. The programme also offers networking with subject and sector experts.

Applications for the Global Exposure trips are now open to ALL entrepreneurs – regardless of sector – who meet the criteria. Closing date is Friday 30 November 2018.

Applications link:

The programme itinerary and each trip is customised according to the profiles of the candidates, stage of business and specific sector.

By way of example, Investec recently sent 14 entrepreneurs from South Africa to Berlin to meet people doing Out of the Ordinary things in textiles:

Related: En-novate Goes Toe-To-Toe With The Best In The World

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Marketing Tactics

How To Localise Your Marketing Campaign

Here are some of the best tips to help you understand how to localise your marketing campaign without a lot of effort.

Pauline Farris




No matter which market you are trying to reach, localising the content you use for your marketing campaign will help you achieve a much smoother outcome. Localising your marketing campaign as a whole can have a number of benefits on the way your audience views your company to how effective the strategy actually is.

If you’re interested in starting to localise your marketing campaign as well, keep reading.

Make sure your products are compatible with the new markets

You might have noticed that there are certain big companies which have spread all around the world and offer their products and services to many different markets.

One of the things that all of these companies are very careful about is making sure the products they provide each geographic area with are compatible with the tastes and traditions of the people.

For example, many big fast-food chains such as Burger King, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s have stores in Asia where they offer dishes which contain seaweed or tofu, which are local to this certain market.

If you want your marketing campaign to become a success, you will need to make sure that you promote these new, special for each location products, so that your customers will know they were made especially for them and their needs and they can then look for them either online through your website or in their areas.

Related: Free Sample Marketing Plan Template

Work with the right professionals

In order to localise your marketing campaign, you will need to work with professionals who will be able to provide you with all the right information and tools you need in order to make it successful.

The most important person to look out for is a professional and preferably native translator. Machine translations can never produce the same outcome as a professional translator who is a native of a certain language.

Many online professional platforms for translators such as TheWordPoint note that “There will always be certain words and phrases which are native and can’t be translated unless a language is your mother tongue”. This is why a human translator will always be far superior to a machine,

Along with that, you will want to invest in a professional who will be able to help you localise your keywords and make sure that you are targeting your marketing campaign to the right audience around the world.

Get feedback from your new audience

Last but not least, it is important to remember that you should always work hard to improve the content of your marketing campaigns. When trying to create certain products and services available for other parts of the world, it is normal for you to make mistakes and have to correct things as you go.

If one of your customers has some feedback to give you, kindly accept it and work hard in order to correct any mistake. You can even have a short poll on your social media accounts or website and ask your customers whether you could improve your localised services in any way.

Not only will this help you show your professionalism, but your customers will also appreciate how much effort you put into pleasing them with your services. This tactic will help you attract more potential customers and turn your marketing campaign into a success.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa

Adjusting your marketing campaign the right way

Localising your marketing campaign will be a little difficult at first, but the good news is that you will only keep improving your tactics if you decide to put enough effort into it. Working with local, native professionals and adjusting your products to your customer’s needs, will help you succeed and stand out in your field.

What do you think is the most important thing when localising a marketing campaign?

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