JOURNAL OF UWC FACULTY OF LAW | ISSN 2077-4907 | Short URL www.ldd.org.za

Different cities, different property-tax-rate regimes: Is it fair in an open and democratic society? pp 311-341

Volume: Volume 26 - 2022

Article type: Refereed article

Author/s: Fanie Van Zyl and Carika Fritz

Differentiation does not automatically mean that a person’s right to equality has been infringed on. Thus, the mere fact that taxpayers are subject to different property tax rates in South Africa depending on the municipality in which the property falls does not necessarily result in an infringement of section 9 of the Constitution: a specific analysis is required in order to determine the constitutionality thereof. In this article, we examine whether the different rates applicable to properties based on where the property is situated are constitutionally sound vis-à-vis the right to equality. In order to do so, we compare the property tax rates and rebates that apply in respect of residential property in the capital cities of the nine provinces in South Africa. The first part of the article considers the general approach adopted by the courts in establishing whether section 9 of the Constitution has been violated. The second part discusses the legislative framework of property tax, after which the equality enquiry is conducted on the differentiation that occurs in regard to property situated in different municipalities. Lastly, we offer some recommendations in our closing remarks.

About the author/s

Carika Fritz

Associate Professor, School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3995-6646

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Fanie van Zyl

Professor, Department of Mercantile Law, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; Research Fellow, African Tax Institute, University of Pretoria, South Africa https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8512-7734

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