Linda Ensor’s article on the problems businesses are facing during Covid-19, and the appeal by the liquor industry not to have to pay excise duty on goods they are not allowed to sell, refers (“Fewer businesses than expected have taken advantage of tax relief”, July 16)

I am not a tax expert but was a partner in a Big Four firm, and spent nine years in banking, so I do understand the basics and think there is an argument to be made that all businesses (and affected individuals) defer paying any provisional tax due for their second or top-up payments if their businesses have been disrupted or closed as a result of the government lockdown.

Many of these businesses may not open again, and the loss they incur in the lockdown period cannot be carried forward if they stop trading. But they may just survive if they can use their top-up payment in this period.

I think the decision to allow deferred payment of PAYE deducted from staff was a crazy idea; if the business goes bust before all the PAYE is paid over, the employees will be the ones who suffer as the SA Revenue Service will still want their taxes.

It strikes me that if you are forbidden to trade, you cannot be expected to pay taxes based on a different set of rules.

Tim Fearnhead, Via e-mail

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