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Steam not charging local digital tax, yet

2 min read

The gaming community was in a state of uproar earlier this year when it was revealed that we would start being charged the standard 14% VAT on digital purchases on the 1st of April this year.

As the deadline loomed it became obvious that the infrastructure wasn’t in place yet to implement and monitor this and the date was then pushed out to the 1st of June. When the 1st of June arrived sure enough the local Apple AppStore started charging a 14% VAT and we expected this to then be rolled out to all other digital distributors.

Well I just picked up a copy of Contraption Maker and just prior to my check out screen I was asked to confirm that I lived in South Africa, which made me think I was about to be charged, but then on the checkout screen itself the tax was set to $0.00

I continued with this purchase and sure enough no tax was taken. I then checked to see if the same happens if I used my local credit card and I had the same result. Granted I didn’t complete this purchase but you can see that I’m still not being taxed.


And it’s not only Valve who are still shirking this responsibility with Zoe purchasing some Kindle books last night and also not being charged digital tax. Personally I understand exactly why the government wants their pound of flesh from these sales and I can’t see Steam and Amazon not implementing the required change in the near future.

But for now if you want to save 14% on your digital games you still can.

What I do wonder about is that in South Africa it is illegal to show retail prices without VAT added, so when Steam does implement the tax are they breaking the local law by now showing the full price prior to checkout?

Last Updated: July 8, 2014

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