Are some taxpayers treated more equally than others? A theoretical analysis to determine the ambit of the constitutional right to equality in South African tax law

  • GK Goldswain
Keywords: Bill of Rights, Constitution, Income Tax Act, human dignity, discrimination, right to equality


The general ambit of the South African constitutional right to equality in revenue matters in general and taxation matters in particular is not defi ned. Thus, taxpayers, their advisors and even the revenue authorities themselves experience diffi culty in deciding whether revenue legislation or the practices of the revenue authorities actually violate the constitutional right to equality. The aim of this study was to analyse the ambit of the right from a theoretical point of view using Constitutional Court decisions and other literature
relevant to the study. The conclusion reached is that the right must be widely and liberally interpreted. There are still many provisions in the Income Tax Act and the practices of the revenue authorities that, prima facie, violate the right to equality, and these provisions and practices still need to be evaluated against the theory discussed in this study.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1998-8125
print ISSN: 1561-896X