The Budget, Your Job and Pay

If you are unemployed and struggling to get a job, you are part of the “greatest economic challenge” facing this country. Help is on the way but it will take time – a wage subsidy is being examined, the internship allowance is being expanded to include longer term apprenticeships and small business support should (hopefully) stimulate employment.

If you currently have a job and under 65, the income tax threshold moved by a mere R3000 from R43000 to R46000, just to guard against bracket creep. The tax deduction for your medical aid contributions goes up from R530 to R570 for the first two beneficiaries and from R320 to R345 per additional beneficiary. Uninspiring, in light of rising medical aid costs. If you are paid at the bottom end, below R100 00 00 per annum, the silver lining is the tax free bursary benefit for your relatives, substantially up from R 3000 to R 10 000. Get HR/your boss on board if you want to benefit. What about that travel allowance? It has been losing mileage, thanks to the tightening tax regime. Good news: the deemed cost tables will be updated for inflation and higher fuel prices.

Meanwhile, you will lose money on traveling to/from work – fuel taxes and road accident fund levy extract 10.9c per litre. Getting tipsy before work or long smoke breaks are bad for your health, performance and pocket. The sin taxes take care of it (I am not stating amounts because die hard consumers will continue their fix, unaffected by the quantum of the tax). Throw in the electricity levy of 2c/kWh and think twice about taking work home. Rather work later at the office and switch off those lights when you leave.

Finally, revise those assumptions about the future, retirement and related contributions. The major reforms to social security and retirement savings are going to leave high income earners, potentially worse off.

(The Times, Work 911)

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