Shuttleworth loses tax battle

Billionaire Mark Shuttleworth has lost his six year battle for a R250 million refund from the Reserve Bank.

The Constitutional Court has had the final say in the matter, finding that the 10% exit levy he was charged was not a tax.

Shuttleworth was made to pay the amount when he applied to move all his capital, some R2,5 billion out of the country. He emigrated to the Isle of Man.

In a majority decision, penned by Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, Shuttleworth will not get a refund.

“I have found that the dominant purpose of exit charge was not to raise revenue but rather to regulate conduct by discouraging the exit of capital and to protect the domestic economy,” says Moseneke.

The decision to impose the 10% exit charge on capital exceeding R750 000 was announced in a budget speech delivered in 2003 by the then Minister of Finance as a condition to the export of that capital.