HEARD on the street



Tax­pay­ers must de­clare gains or losses from trad­ing in cryp­tocur­ren­cies, the SA Rev­enue Ser­vice (Sars) has said. So whether you are in­vest­ing in Bit­coin, Ethereum, Zcash, Lite­coin, or any other cryp­tocur­ren­cies, nor­mal in­come tax rules will ap­ply.

Cryp­tocur­ren­cies (typ­i­fied by Bit­coin) are dig­i­tal cur­ren­cies that ex­ist al­most wholly in the vir­tual realm. A grow­ing num­ber of cryp­tocur­rency pro­po­nents use it to pay for goods and ser­vices, much like con­ven­tional cur­ren­cies, or be­lieve it to be an in­vest­ment. How­ever, a num­ber of com­men­ta­tors have re­jected vir­tual cur­ren­cies as scams or de­scribe them as a bub­ble about to burst – much in the same way tech­nol­ogy shares did in 2000.

In a state­ment is­sued last week, Sars said: “The onus is on tax­pay­ers to de­clare all cryp­tocur­rency-re­lated tax­able in­come in the tax year in which it is re­ceived or ac­crued. Fail­ure to do so could re­sult in in­ter­est and penal­ties.”

If you’re not sure about spe­cific trans­ac­tions in­volv­ing cryp­tocur­ren­cies, seek guid­ance from Sars through chan­nels such as bind­ing pri­vate rul­ings, which clar­ify how the Sars com­mis­sioner would ap­ply tax laws in a cer­tain case.


FNB’s par­ent com­pany, FirstRand, has been awarded a short-term li­cence from the Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Board. It will al­low FNB to be­come a “com­plete in­surer” with the abil­ity to un­der­write short and long-term in­sur­ance (it ac­quired the long-term li­cence three years ago).

FNB CEO Jac­ques Cel­liers said in a state­ment: “As a fully fledged in­surer, we are now well po­si­tioned to sus­tain­ably scale our in­sur­ance pil­lar through a phi­los­o­phy of sim­pli­fied com­plex­ity, great in­no­va­tion and su­pe­rior con­ve­nience. Cen­tral to the suc­cess of our in­sur­ance busi­ness will be our abil­ity to sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease ef­fi­ciency by lever­ag­ing the FNB bank­ing in­fra­struc­ture and chan­nels.”

FNB Life CEO Lee Brom­field said their longterm strat­egy was to build the low­est-cost in­sur­ance com­pany in the mar­ket. They would do this by in­ter­act­ing with cus­tomers at a sig­nif­i­cantly lower cost than com­peti­tors, and re­tain­ing them through in­te­gra­tion into the “FNB ecosys­tem”. Brom­field said busi­ness in­sur­ance would play a piv­otal role in the bank’s strat­egy. “We want to com­plete the busi­ness of­fer­ing with in­sur­ance and see this work­ing well in ex­ist­ing in­ter­ac­tions with our busi­ness cus­tomers,” he said.


Fu­neral par­lours not reg­is­tered as fi­nan­cial ser­vice providers have been called on to at­tend work­shops to help them do so, the Fi­nan­cial Sec­tor Con­duct Au­thor­ity (FSCA) has said.

The Fi­nan­cial Ad­vi­sory and In­ter­me­di­ary Ser­vices (Fais) Act reg­is­tra­tion work­shops are be­ing held around the coun­try.

The work­shops will cover top­ics in­clud­ing the au­thor­ity’s role and how the Fais Act af­fects busi­nesses. Del­e­gates will get help com­plet­ing the Fais li­cence ap­pli­ca­tion forms.

The work­shops are free of charge. How­ever, there is a fee for the li­cence ap­pli­ca­tion, as pre­scribed in the Gov­ern­ment Gazette pub­lished on Fe­bru­ary 9.

The FSCA said it had no­ticed that po­ten­tial ser­vice providers were pay­ing third par­ties to help them with their ap­pli­ca­tions, which made the reg­is­tra­tion process more costly.

It said the cur­rent pre­scribed li­cence ap­pli­ca­tion fee is R5 117 with a com­pli­ance of­fi­cer and au­di­tor (if col­lect­ing pre­mi­ums), and R3 921 with­out a com­pli­ance of­fi­cer or au­di­tor.

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