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Tax Administration

15 September 2004 / Barry Williams
Issue: 3975 / Categories: Comment & Analysis
The intricacies of what constitutes evidence is analysed by BARRY WILLIAMS.

Evidence And The Onus Of Proof

ALTHOUGH THE REGULATIONS governing Commissioners' appeal hearings (Statutory Instrument 1811 of 1994 for Special Commissioners and Statutory Instrument 1812 of 1994 for General Commissioners) refer to evidence nowhere in the regulations or elsewhere in the taxing statutes is that term defined. The usual definition of evidence is related to fact and can become somewhat tautologous unless a few terms are also defined.


Evidence is that which tends to prove a fact. It is that which would satisfy a reasonable enquirer of the fact's existence. Relevant evidence is that which makes the fact more or less provable. Direct evidence requires no inference on the part of the decision-maker to accept it. Circumstantial evidence on the other hand requires an inference on the part of the decision-maker before it can be accepted. Fact is that which is known to...

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