The new SARS solar energy tax credit

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The tax credit for individuals installing solar panels is here, for a limited time only.

The proposed new law regarding the tax credit available to individuals who install solar panels has been announced.

The system will be introduced in the form of a tax credit, as opposed to a tax deduction. This is good news, as it affords individuals with a uniform opportunity in claiming the same tax credit. Under a deduction form, a sliding scale is applied, which is dependent on each individual’s income and tax bracket.

Four key ingredients:

Individuals who claim the solar energy tax credit must ensure that the following requirements are met:

  • The solar panels must be new and unused; and acquired by the person, and for the first time brought into use by such person, from 1 March 2023 to 29 February 2024;
  • They must have a generation capacity of at least 275 watts;
  • The solar panels must be a component in a system which connects to a distribution board at a person’s residence, which residence is mainly used for domestic purposes; and
  • An electrical compliance certificate must be issued to such person, in respect of the installation of the solar panels, under the Electrical Installation Regulations, 2009.

One-year window only:

Although the solar energy tax credit system was announced before the 2023/24-year of assessment commenced, it should be noted that the law has not yet been enacted and only the draft law has been published. It will, however, only be available for one year and take effect from 1 March 2023 until 29 February 2024.

Solar installers who are compelled to submit third-party information to SARS will have to reapproach clients for whom solar panels were installed from 1 March 2023, to ensure they are in possession of the information required to be submitted to SARS.

What amount can be claimed?

The solar energy tax credit is calculated as follows:

  • 25 % of the actual cost of the solar panels; and
  • Limited to a maximum amount of R15 000.

Who may claim the credit?

The tax law proposal is that the credit may only be claimed by the individual who “actually incurred” the cost of the solar panels. Therefore, the owner or occupant of the property will be entitled to claim the proposed tax credit.

Anti-avoidance provision:

An anti-avoidance mechanism is proposed, which provides that, in the event that a solar panel in respect of which the solar energy tax credit was previously claimed, is sold on or before 1 March 2025, the credit so previously applied will be disallowed.

It is proposed that the person who claimed the tax credit will then be subject to normal tax as if that credit was not applied in the applicable year of assessment. However, this provision will not apply where the individual sells (or vacates) the residence to which the solar panels were installed.

WRITTEN BY Micaela Paschini

Micaela Paschini is a tax attorney at Tax Consulting SA.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE).

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