Title page for ETD etd-07262011-162839


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Laage, Annelie
Email annelie.laage@kpmg.co.za
URN etd-07262011-162839
Document Title A comparative study of environmental taxes in the South African context
Degree MCom
Department Taxation
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Mr F Opperman Supervisor
Keywords
  • tax
  • South Africa
  • Suid Afrika
  • belasting
Date 2011-04-07
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
The environment is in crisis, it has recently been reported that cars and trucks in the United States of America emit 314 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. To put it into perspective, that as much as would be released from burning all the coal in a freight train 80 467 kilometres long enough to circle the world, twice (Science News, 2008).

The worlds response to the environmental crisis is through the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. Currently, there are 190 parties (189 states and one regional economic integration organisation) to the Kyoto Protocol, of which the developed nations that are parties to the protocol account for 63.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto Protocol is, however, proving to be inefficient in curbing greenhouse gas emissions due to the following reasons:

  • there are currently no ramifications if agreed targets are not reached by member states;
  • in its current form, the protocol only sets emission limits for the period ending 2012;
  • the protocol subscribes mostly to quantitative measures as opposed to the introduction of a tax system to penalise emission producers.

Through extensive research conducted as part of this study, it was shown that a tax system is more efficient in ensuring a double dividend and achieving the Kyoto goals than a quantitative system as currently promoted under the Kyoto Protocol On the premise that a taxation system is preferable, this study sought to understand the current trends in environmental taxes and combined the available research in a comprehensive environmental tax matrix. The matrix of the various environmental taxes clearly distinguished between the incentive or revenue-raising functions of a tax and the main uses of the revenues. Each category was clearly illustrated through examples of its application based on extensive research.

The study further sought to demonstrate the practical application of environmental tax systems through an analysis of the environmental tax systems of Mexico, Malaysia and the United States, or sections in their tax law, dealing specifically with environmental-related tax matters.

Lastly, the research culminated in a review of the current environmental tax regime followed in South Africa in terms of normal income tax ,and proposed various alternatives, which can be considered for introduction by the South African Revenue Service.

Based on the literature reviewed the study concluded that a tax system is preferable to a quantitative system in order to limit GHG emissions. The various environmental taxes were investigated by taking into account an environmental tax matrix as well as experience gained from other countries in order to support, amongst other recommendations, the establishment of a carbon tax system in South Africa.

AFRIKAANS : Die omgewing is in n krisis, daar is onlangs berig dat voertuie in die Verenigde State van Amerika jaarliks verantwoordelik is vir 314 miljoen metrieke ton koolstofdioksied-besoedeling. Om dit in perspektief te plaas, dit is die koolstofdioksied wat vrygestel sou word as n 80 467 kilometer vragtrein vol steenkool verbrand sou word. Hierdie trein sou lank genoeg wees om twee maal om die aarde te strek (Science News, 2008).

Die wreld se reaksie op die omgewingskrisis is deur die bekragtiging van die Kyoto-protokol. Daar is tans 190 partye tot die protokol (189 lande en een ekonomiese integrasie-organisasie). Sommige van die ontwikkelde lande wat lede van die protokol is verantwoordelik vir 63.7% van wreldwye kweekhuisgasbesoedeling. Die Kyoto-protokol is egter nie in staat om kweekhuisgasbesoedeling te te werk nie om die volgende redes:

  • daar is tans geen strafmaatrels indien doelwitte deur deelnemende lande nie bereik word nie;
  • in sy huidige vorm stel die protokol slegs beperkings op besoedeling tot 2012;
  • die protokol onderskryf meestal kwantitatiewe beginsels in teenstelling met die voorstel vann belastingstelsel wat die belastinglas op die bron van die besoedeling plaas.

Daar word aan die hand van die uitgebreide ondersoek, wat as deel van hierdie studie onderneem is, getoon dat n belastingstelsel n doeltreffender manier is omn dubbel-dividend te verseker ter bereiking van die Kyotodoelwitte in teenstelling met die huidige kwantitatiewe beginsels wat tans deur die protokol onderskryf word.

In die veronderstelling dat n omgewingsbelasting die voordeligste opsie is om te volg, bied hierdie studie meer inligting oor die huidige tendense in omgewingsbelasting en kombineer die beskikbare inligting in hierdie verband in n omgewingsbelasting-matriks. Die matriks klassifiseer die verskillende soorte omgewings-belasting in die voordeel of inkomste-genererende funksie van n belasting en die hoofgebruike van die inkomstes. Elke kategorie word duidelik gellustreer deur toegepaste voorbeelde wat gegrond is op deeglike ondersoek.

Verder het die studie die volgende ondersoek: die praktiese toepassing van omgewingbelastingstelsels deur n analise van die Mexikaanse, Maleise en Amerikaanse omgewingsbelastingstelsels, of gedeeltes van hul belastingwette wat spesifiek verband hou met omgewingsbelastingsake.

Laastens het die studie gekyk na die huidige belastingstelsel in Suid-Afrika in die lig van omgewingsbelastingsake en stel alternatiewe voor vir die huidige belastingstelsel wat deur die Suid-Afrikaanse Inkomstediens oorweeg kan word.

Die studie het bevind dat n belastingstelsel meer gunstig is as n kwantitatiewe stelsel ten einde kweekhuisgasse te beperk. Die verskeie omgewingsbelasting opsies is ondersoek deur die omgewingsbelasting-matriks sowel as ervaring van ander lande te bestudeer. Hierdie studie het bevind dat, tesame met ander moontlike wysigings van die huidige Suid-Afrikaanse belastingstelsel, n koolstof-belasting in die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks oorweeg moet word.

2010, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Laage, A 2010, A comparative study of environmental taxes in the South African context, MCom dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-07262011-162839/ >

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