IF there’s just one legal story you remember this year, let it be this one:

It’s the story of a taxpayer (who was not named in the court’s judgment) and what started off as a conventional property sale attracting capital gains tax. Five years later however the sale fell through. And at this stage the case became anything but conventional.

Finally the matter ended in the high court where Judge Ashley Binns-Ward was asked these questions: should the taxpayer’s liability be revisited to reflect that there was ultimately no sale, and therefore no capital gains tax owing? – Or should the original assessment stand, with the capital gains tax payable, even though the sale collapsed?

This is a column that originally appeared in the Financial Mail, and to find out what the court ultimately held, and how to avoid the same fate as the unfortunate taxpayer, click here:


And here’s the original judgment: New Adventure v SARS