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Improving the targeting of zero-rated basic foodstuffs under value added tax (VAT) in South Africa - An exploratory analysis

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Author Info

  • Ada Jansen

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

  • Elizabeth Stoltz

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of the Western Cape)

  • Derek Yu

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Western Cape)

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Abstract

VAT without any exemptions or zero-rating is regressive. Since the inception of VAT in South Africa, there has been an ongoing debate around the issue of zero-rating to alleviate the burden on poor households. This paper uses vegetables as an example and conducts tax incidence analyses to compare the relative burden of VAT on vegetables for various income groups. It finds that differential treatment of the zero-rating of VAT on various categories of vegetables could be beneficial in terms of relative equity gains. It is suggested frozen vegetables remains zero-rated, whereas canned vegetables and some fresh vegetables items be zero-rated.

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File URL: http://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2012/wp072012/wp-07-2012.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 07/2012.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers159

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Keywords: Value added tax; expenditure patterns; regressivity; zero-rating; equity gain; optimal targeting; basic foodstuffs; sub-categories of vegetables; South Africa;

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  1. Sònia Muñoz & Stanley Sang-Wook Cho, 2003. "Social Impact of a Tax Reform," IMF Working Papers 03/232, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Servaas van der Berg, 2009. "Fiscal incidence of social spending in South Africa, 2006," Working Papers 10/2009, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
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