Testing concurrent benefits for Section 12L tax incentives in South Africa
Keywords:energy efficiency, tax incentives, measurement and verification, concurrency, multidisciplinary communication
The South African energy crisis harms the economy. Tax incentives are intended to help, but rules for incentives must be understood by all stakeholders for taxpayers to be encouraged to invest. Section 12L (S12L) is relatively new legislation that allows a tax deduction for verified year-on-year energy efficiency savings in South Africa. Concurrent benefits are excluded from this tax incentive, to prevent a double reward for the same activity. Although the prevention of double benefits is commonly addressed in the field of measurement and verification (M&V), non-technical guidelines are not available. This is a critical shortcoming since multiple professions (tax, audit and legal) need to understand the technical M&V requirements of S12L. This study reviews the current legislation and interpretations of concurrent benefits in terms of S12L. It shows that multiple energy-related incentives are utilised by industries and that, therefore, it must be determined if different programmes overlap, so as to create concurrent benefits with S12L. It is then critical to correctly apply M&V practice to ensure exclusion of concurrent benefits. This study also provides a simplified methodology to evaluate concurrency, based on the S12L regulatory requirements and standard M&V methods. Three case studies show how concurrency can occur and how M&V practice is applied to exclude double benefits. The test for concurrency is shown to reduce to the following question: Is the same energy saving funded twice? The tests must be done to ensure no double benefit occurs.
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