Afton Titus is an Associate Professor in the Commercial Law Department. She graduated from UCT with Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws degrees. After completing her articles and being admitted to the High Court as an attorney, notary and conveyancer, Afton then completed her Master of Commerce degree in Taxation from UCT while working as a tax practitioner.
Of her interest in South African tax law, Afton comments: “My attraction to tax law started with an appreciation of its sophisticated blending of law and calculations. I then fell in love with the poetic turns of phrase that characterise many of the pivotal judgments in South African tax law.” Afton also notes that she loves the fact that while some aspects of tax law change often, the fundamental principles of tax law always remain the same.
Afton was awarded her PhD from the Amsterdam Centre for Tax Law at the University of Amsterdam, with her thesis focused on designing corporate tax policies for the East African Community and its envisaged federation.
“From a South African tax law perspective,” says Afton, “I am particularly interested in the general anti-avoidance rule and the capital/revenue debate in income and expenditure. From an international tax perspective, I am interested in the anti-base erosion and profit-shifting initiatives being adopted internationally.”
Afton teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, noting that: “Many people wrongly imagine tax law to be dry and boring. I enjoy bringing the tax cases to life before my class as I explain the background, context and continued relevance of the many cases that feature in tax law. Statutory interpretation is also a vital area in law that is often seen as boring. However, it has particular relevance to tax law, and I enjoy bringing the class’s attention to the sometimes ingenious arguments employed in this area of law to persuade a court to read legislation in the manner argued.”
Afton is also part of the core team at the UCT Tax Unit for Fiscal Research, in partnership with the International Bureau for Financial Documentation (IBFD). The Unit offers postgraduate programmes in South African Tax Law, and also in International Tax Law. The Masters-level courses provide students with deep expertise in the design of the tax system in South Africa and how it relates internationally to other countries.
For Afton’s Google scholar page, go to https://scholar.google.co.za/citations?user=pOLD9-kAAAAJ&hl=en
‘The Relationship between Tax Incentives and Human Rights Obligations in the Drive to Attract Foreign Direct Investment: Are African Developing Countries Getting it Right?’ Afton Titus and Tracy Gutuza, Acta Juridica 2019 (forthcoming)
‘Designing a General Anti-Avoidance Rule for the East African Community – A Comparative Analysis’ 11(2) World Tax Journal 2019, online.
Law of South Africa: Film and Television Production and Production Exploitation Law. Co-Authored: Lee-Ann Tong, Afton Titus and Salona Lutchman, Vol. 18, Third Edition, 2018
‘How Can the East African Community Guard Against Base Erosion and Profit Shifting While Working Towards Deeper Integration?’ 9(4) World Tax Journal 2017, online.
‘May an investment in interest-bearing securities constitute a trade for the purpose of the Income Tax Act?’ 133(3) South African Law Journal 2016, 504.
‘A Review of the Taxation of Partnerships in South Africa over the last 100 years’ in Income Tax in South Africa: The First 100 Years (1914 - 2014), Hattingh, J Roeleveld, J West, C (eds) – Juta, 2016.
Fiscal Federalism and the EAC: The Way Forward’1(1) International Law Journal On Trade, Business and Economics 2014, 1.
‘The Role of the Limited Partner Deeming Provision in the Income Tax Act: Does section 24H(2) Achieve its Intended Purpose?’ 35(3) Obiter 2014, 658.
‘The Different Permutations of CSARS v Brummeria: Was it something other than an interest-free loan?’ 129(2) South African Law Journal 2012, 236.
Forthcoming publications (2019)
‘Judicial Reinterpretation of Legal Doctrine to address Tax Avoidance in South Africa: Sasol Oil v CSARS’ (2019 submission to the British Tax Review). Johann Hattingh and Afton Titus
‘How Can the Formation of a Federation Assist the East African Community in Guarding Against Base Erosion and Profit Shifting?’ (2018 submission to the Journal of African Law)
‘Pienaar Bros (Pty) Ltd v CSARS, Retroactive Legislation and the Rule of Law: Has South Africa just taken a step back in its constitutional democracy?’ (2018 submission to the South African Law Journal)
‘The Decolonization Movement in South Africa: Is Tax Law Decolonised?’. Co-Authored: Tracy Gutuza and Afton Titus (2018 submission towards book on Decolonisation in South Africa)
Conferences and Workshops
Attended an international tax law workshop entitled: ‘How Countries Learn to Tax: Complexity, Legal Transplants and Legal Culture’ hosted by Leiden University, the Netherlands in February 2019.
Presented a paper entitled: ‘‘Pienaar Bros (Pty) Ltd v CSARS, Retroactive Legislation and the Rule of Law: Has South Africa just taken a step back in its constitutional democracy?’ at the University Of Fort Hare Nelson R Mandela School of Law & Maastricht Centre For Human Rights Conference (East London, South Africa), October 2018.
Presented a paper entitled: ‘‘The Decolonization Movement in South Africa: Is Tax Law Decolonised?’ at the Conference of the Society of Law Teachers Association of South Africa (Cape Town, South Africa), July 2018.
Presented a paper entitled: ‘The East African Community and the Use of A General Anti-Avoidance Rule to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit-Shifting as the EAC Seeks Deeper Regional Integration – A Comparison Of The GAARs in Canada, South Africa and the European Union’ at the Law and Society Association Conference (Toronto, Canada), June 2018.
Presented a paper entitled: ‘A Review of the Taxation of Partnerships in South Africa over the Last 100 Years’ at the Conference on 100 Years of Income Tax in South Africa (Cape Town), November 2014.
Presented a paper entitled: ‘Fiscal Federalism and the EAC’ at the Annual International Conference on Law, Economics and Politics (Oxford), September 2014.
Presented a paper entitled: ‘Section 24H(2) of the Income Tax Act: Does South African Law Need This Provision?’ at the Conference of the Society of Law Teachers Association of South Africa, July 2012.