Top tips for a stellar CV

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is the most important document that a job seeker needs when they are searching for employment.

Whether you are a university graduate hunting for your first job, or a seasoned professional looking to take the next step towards growing your career, it is vital to know how to construct a CV that will make you stand out in an increasingly crowded market.  

A CV is the first representation that a potential employer will have of a candidate. As a result, this document will create a first impression of the candidate based on the information provided and how it is presented. It is therefore imperative that a CV must reflect relevant skills, experience and accomplishments in a way that is easy to read and appealing to the employer.

Unfortunately many job hunters do not realise the negative impact a poorly written CV can have on their job prospects. The CV is the key deciding factor whether or not the applicant will be invited for an interview with the employer and must therefore capture the attention of the prospective employer.

Dlamini provides the below tips to construct an impressive CV:

1. The length of the CV should not exceed more than four pages. There is a high likelihood that yours is just one of many CVs on a pile that will be reviewed.
2. The document must provide an overview of your skills, experience and achievements – with the most recent and relevant information at the top.
3. The experience or skills that accurately match the requirements of the role you are applying for should be at the beginning of the CV. This way the hiring manager can easily distinguish who makes you the best applicant.
4. Make sure that the information is straightforward and avoid all clichés and jargon.
5. Address time gaps between studying and working in your work history by providing a clear explanation. The prospective employer might simply regard this as unproductive time if it seems like the applicant spent time drifting and might draw unfavourable conclusions. Rather make the effort to briefly explain these gaps.
6. Don’t simply list the day-to-day responsibilities held in previous roles. It is extremely important to illustrate how well the work was carried out through a list of achievements. Showcase the best achievements that will reflect the requirements of the particular position you are applying for.
7. Refine the document a number of times before deciding on a final version. Ask someone to proofread it for any spelling or grammatical errors.
8. Never list training courses that were not completed.
9. Do not list fraudulent information as this can lead to severe consequences as most employers will do a background check.
10. Do not embellish your capabilities to the point of falsehood. You can ruin your reputation if you are appointed and cannot deliver work that is in line with the claims stipulated in your CV.  

A CV should also be an ever-evolving document as it needs constant updating to include current information, skills and experience. It is ultimately the only document that could pave the way for prospective employment opportunities and is therefore one of the most important documents you will put together.

By taking the above tips into consideration, job seekers can improve their chances of being invited for an interview at their dream job or at least gain entry into their desired field.

Lindi Dlamini, Group Executive: Human Resources at PPS.

Tax comments on the 2017 Budget Review

VAT on fuel

National Treasury has indicated an intention to expand the VAT base by removing the zero rating on fuel. To mitigate the effect, National Treasury is considering combining this change with a freeze or decrease in the fuel levy.

This will, however, have the effect of increasing the cost of fuel which will cascade through the economy by way of increased costs, and furthermore contradicts the initial policy intent of subjecting fuel, already subject to a fuel levy, to an additional tax in the form of VAT.  

This change will be subject to consultation leading up to the 2018 Budget.

VAT on electronic services

National Treasury proposes updating regulations to broaden the scope of electronic services which are subject to VAT in South Africa, and to include Cloud computing and services provided using online applications. Further changes will be introduced to remove uncertainties and practical difficulties. While the detail of these changes has not been outlined, it remains to be seen whether the changes will align with broader OECD principles aimed at addressing base erosion and profit shifting.  

Amendments to definition of ‘resident of the republic’

Definition of ‘resident of the Republic’

National Treasury proposes amending the definition of ‘resident of the republic’ in the VAT Act to ensure that the zero-rating for non-residents is not jeopardized. Such amendment aims to ensure that non-residents do not incur non-recoverable VAT.

Housing subsidy payments

The proposed deletion of the zero rating of housing subsidy payments has been postponed for two years. The law currently provides that payments made in terms of certain national housing programmes, reflected in a regulation, be zero rated. As no such regulation currently exists, the question has to be asked whether any payments can currently be zero rated.   

Moveable property situated in an export country

The Budget implies that shares and securities of a foreign company listed on the JSE are to be regarded as moveable property situated in a foreign country. The VAT Act currently provides for services in respect of such shares and securities to be zero rated and National Treasury has proposed amendments to the VAT Act to clarify the tax treatment of these services. It is not clear what further clarification is required in this area.

Customs and excise

As predicted, National Treasury has sought to increase excise duties in respect of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages. National Treasury will furthermore amend the Tax Administration Act to tighten the controls around the marking, tracking and tracing of locally manufactured and imported tobacco products to limit fraud. In addition, the fuel levy will be increased by an additional 30c per litre.

Sugar tax

In line with previous statements, Government proposes implementing a tax on sugary beverages as soon as the necessary legislation is approved by Parliament and signed by the President. The tax will be administered through the Customs and Excise Act. National Treasury’s socio economic impact assessment shows a relatively small effect on job losses.
 
Following the draft policy paper and consultation with industry, the design of the tax has been revised such that:
– The World Health Organisation definition will be applied to cover the intrinsic and added sugars in sugary beverages;
– The sugar content will remain the base on which the tax is applied;
– The proposed tax rate has been decreased t0 2.1c/gram for sugar content in excess of 4g/100ml; and
– Of the proposed rate, 50 per cent will apply to concentrated beverages.

Some of the revenue collected will be used to support health promotion interventions to fight non-communicable diseases.  

Carbon tax

A revised Carbon Tax Bill will be released during 2017 for public consultation and is expected to be tabled in Parliament mid-2017. Latest developments include:
– During the first phase of the tax until 2020, there will be no impact on the price of electricity;
– A revised regulation for the carbon offset allowance will be published by mid-2017.

Government expects to provide clarity on the alignment of the carbon tax and carbon budget after 2020.

Lesley O’Connell, Partner PwC Indirect Tax.

Sello Mphelane

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Ntombifuthi Dludla

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Ntombifuthi Dludla

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Avashnie Chetty

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Comments on the 2017 Budget Review

As many pundits predicted, the Minister of Finance today announced a new 45% tax bracket for individuals which will apply to taxable income in excess of R1.5 million.

The tax rates below that have remained unchanged and the income levels at which they apply have been slightly adjusted, but not enough to offset the effects of inflation.

By way of example, the impact of the tax changes at the various income levels will be as follows:

PWC budget review 3 mar
According to the Minister of Finance, the impact of the tax proposals are that the additional revenue for the Fiscus from personal income tax is R16.5 billion while the introduction of the new tax bracket will result in additional revenue of R4.4 billion.

These new tax rates, combined with increases in the fuel levy as well as the usual increases in “sin taxes” will hit certain sectors of the economy quite hard. Certainly, taxpayers with taxable income in excess of R1.5 million will find themselves significantly worse off.

Barry Knoetze is the Associate Director at PwC Tax Services.

Brandon Williams

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Brandon Williams

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Shireen Sataar

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Budget 2017 commentary

Key points from the Budget Speech

The Budget Speech was very light on matters affecting retirement fund investors, and did not reference retirement reforms at all. Most significantly for retirement savers, the marginal tax rate for those earning above R1,5 million has been increased to 45%. This increases the tax benefit for high income earners on retirement fund contributions. The scope is limited however, in view of the rand cap of R350 000, which limits the effective retirement fund deduction for such individuals to 23,3%. Another consequence to this increase is that it pushes up the potential maximum effective tax rate on capital gains from 16,4% to 18%.    

The dividend withholding tax increases substantially, from 15% to 20%. This, too, makes it more attractive to shield investment returns in a retirement fund vehicle, which is not subject to tax on investment returns.

The annual permitted contribution to the TFSA has been increased from R30 000 to R33 000. As far as we are aware, the lifetime stays at R500 000 but it does mean that this can now be reached around one year sooner (15 years instead of 16 years).  

Impact on SA retirement savings

Miscellaneous tax amendments proposed for the upcoming tax legislative cycle are set out below:

Preservation of benefits after reaching normal retirement dates: In 2014, the law was changed to permit individuals to retire without immediately drawing their retirement benefit (and paying tax thereon). It did not however permit the transfer of this benefit to another fund. It is now proposed that transfers of retirement interests be allowed from a retirement fund to a retirement annuity fund, subject to fund rules.

Tax-exempt status of pre-March 1998 build-up in public-sector funds: Currently, the Income Tax Act provides the tax-free portion relating to pre 1 March 1998 service can be carried over on transfer from a public sector fund to a pension fund, but not on subsequent transfers. It is proposed that subsequent transfers of these lump sum benefits to another pension fund be tax free.

Removing time limit to join an employer umbrella fund: Existing employees who do not join a newly established employer umbrella fund have 12 months within which to join the fund, after which they are unable to join. To encourage retirement saving Treasury proposes to scrap the 12-month limit, enabling employees to join without time restriction, subject to the rules of the fund.  This will be a welcome scrapping of a senseless rule.

Applying the R350 000 deduction cap across the year: It is currently not clear how this cap should be applied when determining monthly employees’ tax. It is proposed that the amount of R350 000 should be spread evenly over the tax year.

Default regulations to improve market conduct. The Budget Review suggested that the aim of the default strategies was to better protect members through lower charges and provide better value for money, especially to members who do not exercise any choice. (Unfortunately, this was not so apparent in the actual wording of the revised default regulations, which merely provided that charges should be cost-effective [“reasonable and competitive”] in the default portfolio.) The revised drafts addressed the industry’s blanket concern on performance fees and guaranteed products, but these may be reviewed in the final regulations published later this year. We hope so. Apparently, further steps to lower charges will follow.

One of our concerns with the revised default rules was that it excluded retirement annuity funds. Fortunately, another initiative, the Policyholder Protection Rules (which has been issued for comment) aim to reduce unfair termination penalties on savings policies. This could potentially save retail investors up to R1 billion over 12 years. These rules will also introduce strong requirements for how insurers must manage customer complaints.

Annuitisation for provident fund members. Treasury hopes to push this through as planned, with effect from 1 March 2018. Discussions with NEDLAC and others on this subject are ongoing. If no agreement is reached, then government will review the continuation of the tax deduction for funds that do not annuitise part of their retirement savings, to ensure the tax system is equitable across all retirement funds. Treasury will also engage with the industry to provide annuity products that better suit the needs of low- and middle-income members of retirement funds.

Automatic enrolment in retirement funds. Over and above the planned Social Security reforms, government is considering automatic enrolment to ensure more workers save for their retirement. This would encourage or require employers to automatically enrol their workers into a retirement fund, which could be sponsored by the employer or sourced from a third party.

Exchange-traded funds referencing foreign assets. Government proposes that local collective investment scheme management companies registered with the Financial Services Board and regulated under the Collective Investment Scheme Control Act (2002) be allowed to list exchange-traded funds referencing foreign assets on South African exchanges. These funds will not be subject to macro-prudential limits on amounts that may be invested offshore. South African institutional investors and authorised dealers will be allowed to invest in such funds, subject to their respective macro-prudential limits. These funds will be classified as foreign assets for prudential purposes. The Reserve Bank has released circulars on these policy measures.

Chris Veegh is the CIO of 10X Investments.

Dumisani Kala

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