The squeeze on individual taxpayers continued in this year’s budget with increased Vat and fuel levies, almost no fiscal-drag relief and a below-inflation increase in the medical tax credit that whittled away this benefit. This year’s additional burden comes on the back of a steady increase in income tax and indirect taxes over the past few years. South Africans’ personal income tax burden has risen from 8.3% of GDP seven years ago to 9.8% in the 2018 tax year, the Budget Review notes. Add to this consumption taxes such as Vat increasing the price of many purchases by another percentage point, the fuel levy and road accident fund levy increasing the tax on fuel from 35.6% to 38.4%, and a two-percentage-point increase in ad valorem excise duty pushing up the cost of goods such as vehicles and cellphones. Following an income tax rate increase in 2016 and the introduction of a 45% marginal tax bracket for high earners last year, personal income tax rates were not increased this year. H...

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