COVID-19: Definition of essential financial services expanded to include tax related services

Service: Corporate, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Andersen Tax


Subsequent to level 4 restriction the list has been expanded further to include services required to comply with a tax act or to exercise a right afforded by a tax act. These services are regarded as essential whether provided by an external service provider, the taxpayer and an employee of a taxpayer.

The initial lockdown regulations published on 25 March defined essential services to include ‘(those services which are) necessary to maintain the functioning of the banking and payments environment, including the JSE and similar exchanges, as well as insurance services’.

The definition has since been expanded to include services are imperative in maintaining the functioning of a financial system.

These additional essential services include:

  • The banking environment;

  • The payments environment;

  • The financial markets (including market infrastructures licensed under the Financial Markets Act;

  • The insurance environment;

  • The savings and investment environment; Pension fund administration;

  • Outsourced administration;

  • Medical schemes administration.

Subsequent to level 4 restriction the list has been expanded further to include services required to comply with a tax act or to exercise a right afforded by a tax act. These services are regarded as essential whether provided by an external service provider, the taxpayer and an employee of a taxpayer.

There still have not been any updates in respect of debt collection services, which the regulations explicitly disqualified from operating as essential services during the lockdown period.

Practically, the amendment broadens the list of essential financial services, However it remains subject to the limitation considering that the financial services may only be rendered from places of business if doing so is necessary to continue performing such services and must be done in accordance with the Precautionary Measures Directive, and Call Centre Directions, where applicable.