Monday 18 September 2017


In 2008, my husband Beric was awarded his PhD thesis on taxpayers' rights in South Africa. This pioneering work was later published as a legal text Taxpayers' Rights in South Africa (Juta Law, 2010), but he always believed it should be made available as a less technical guide to educate the ordinary South African taxpayers of their rights.  

In 2013, I offered my services as a writer and we approached Juta Law withe the proposal that I "translate" the legal text into a fun and easily understandable text that would make the complex tax laws of South Africa more accessible to the ordinary South Africa taxpayer.

Because of Beric's devastating illness (he was diagnosed with aggressive oesphageal cancer in 2015) the journey to publication has, at times, been as challenging as it was exhilirating. We couldn't have done it without the support and patience of our publishers Juta Law (especially our editor Melanie Wagner)  and the support of our family (especially my Mom, Dawn Heinemann, who despite having her second heart attack in 2016, has been a rock of support for us.) Our friends, too, have been incredibly supportive and understanding of the focus we needed to stay on the path to publication.

Finally, after four and a half years, "STREET SMART TAXPAYERS: A Practical Guide to Your Rights in South Africa" was revealed for the first time at the Tax Indaba 2017. 
You can order your copy of Street Smart Taxpayers from Juta Law by clicking here
Here's the blurb from the book's catalogue page on Juta's on-line shop:
Simplifying complex legal language and tax terminology, the book attempts to reduce the fear factor and frustrations that many taxpayers experience when dealing with tax matters.
Street Smart Taxpayers explains the processes SARS must follow when working with taxpayers throughout the various stages of the tax process, and identifies the remedies available to taxpayers. Together with interesting tax stories and a useful glossary for taxpayers to better understand tax lingo, Street Smart Taxpayers explores the following taxpayers’ rights:

• the right to property
• the right to equality
• the right to privacy
• the right of access to information
• the right to administrative justice
• the right to remain silent
• the right of access to courts

Combining humour, expert knowledge and anecdotes about the troubles taxpayers encounter in their dealings with SARS, the authors also investigate taxpayers’ obligations, how tax and religion intersect and the important question of ethics from the point of view of both SARS and the taxpayer. It is hoped that this book will enable taxpayers to be street smart and competent in handling their tax affairs.

    Dr Beric Croome with Judge Bernard Ngoepe the Tax Ombud before joining him in panel discussion on "The Psychology of Tax Behaviour in Times of Recession" Tax Indaba 2017

Contents Include:
  • A history of South African taxation
  • Taxpayers and the tax process
  • Seeking help as a taxpayer
  • What are your taxpayer rights?
  • Taxpayers’ right to property
  • Taxpayers’ right to equality
  • Taxpayers’ right to privacy
  • Taxpayers’ right to access to information
  • Taxpayers’ right to administrative justice
  • Taxpayers’ right to remain silent
  • Taxpayers’ right of access to courts
  • Taxpayers’ obligations
  • The ethics of paying tax
  • Taxpayers’ rights — an international work in progress
  • Taxpayers’ remedies in South Africa
  • The future of taxpayers’ rights
  • Glossary 
At Tax Indaba 2017 - panel discussion on "The Psychology of Tax Behaviour in Times of Recession" Speakers from left to right: Dr Beric John Croome (ENSafrica), Dr Randall Carolissen (SARS), Judge Bernard Ngoepe (Tax Ombud SAand Patricia Williams (Bowmans)
(Photograph courtesy of Thyann Delport of
 Street Smart Taxpayers is of interest and benefit to:
  • South African taxpayers
  • Law students
  • Tax practitioners 
  • Government officials

Monday 31 July 2017

A Lucky Week!

If you've wondered where I've been hiding, 2017 has been even busier than 2016. The year started (is still continuing) with a determined effort to finish the tax book "Street Smart Taxpayers: A Practical Guide to your Rights in South Africa" that I'm writting in colloboration with my husband for Juta Law, South Africa's oldest legal publishers. That project is in its final stages - waiting for a foreword, then it's finally off to the printers. Launch date will probably be mid-September 2017. I'll do a cover reveal and give more info once the launch is over.

While in the throes of finishing the first draft, editing and editing and still more editing on Street Smart Taxpayers, we had a crisis - sadly, my husband had a recurrence of his cancer, this time inoperable because of its location. The only treatment option was more radiation. Despite the ever present support of my amazing Mom, there were quite a few challenges this time. Beric had to have a minor biopsy that, because of previous radiation damage, became major thoracic surgery, and he caught a superbug in the hospital, so the wound got severely infected. That infection had to be cleared before treatment could start - ultimately, he coped very well with the intense radiation, but is now still struggling with bacterial pneumonia and severe fatigue, a side effect. And he's working full day to keep food on the table and meet serious deadlines in his tax legal practice. 

Poor guy! Luckily, he's tough! I told him he has no option but to get 100% better otherwise I'll be like Sid and Scrat in the final "Heaven's Gate" scene of Ice Age 2. Anyone remember what happened when Scrat the Squirrel finds himself in Heaven? Well, if Beric has any thoughts of finding himself in Heaven any time soon, he can play Scrat and I'll play Sid!! 
So ... what with the busy first half of the year, I haven't been doing much creative writing or poetry, and minimal social media too. I did manage to scribble a few notes; one or two even became poems which were submitted to publishing houses. 

Then suddenly this week became a doubly lucky week. First, my poem THE BEGGAR'S CRY was published in Poetry Potion's Edition No 11 "Love and Compassion." 
Available for purchase from Black Letter Media
And, to end the week, my Letter to the Editor about the latest money grubbing use of Nelson Mandela's name was published in the SATURDAY STAR on 28/7/2017! 

These droplets are nectar to a struggling artist's soul!!

On that note, I'm disappearing back into my cave, where I have 5 weeks backlog of admin and other work to catch up. And, miracle of miracles, somewhere in the recesses of my brain the first faint breaths of a story I've been wanting to write these past two years and more are stirring ...

Thursday 19 January 2017

The Ones We Have Been Waiting For

As we end a year that was super-challenging on a personal and collective level, and we begin a new year full of hope and uncertainty, I'd like to share a Tina Turner video and a Native American story that both move and inspire me:
You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.And there are things to be considered . . .
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.
Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, This could be a very good time!
There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know this river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open and our heads above water.
And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.
The time for the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.
NOTE: I'm seriously busy on a long-overdue non-fiction writing project in collaboration with my husband and our publishers. There'll be no further blog entries until I can make the exciting announcement about the project!