Specialist Skills: Niche Tax Expertise

Published: 16 August 2018
Last edited: 29 July 2019

The nature of this Project sought to create a biodiversity finance solution for South Africa's protected areas that was built on tax law. In order to succeed in this venture, it was central to have a tax specialist undertake the Project. Previous attempts to introduce biodiversity tax incentives in South Africa had failed due to incorrect tax structuring and lack of practical tax testing. In both the amendment of national tax legislation, as well as the actual appropriation of the tax incentives on behalf of landowners, a skilled tax practitioner, who understood both detailed tax law as well as the environmental policy and legislation that the tax incentives linked to, was required. The very unique nature of this work required a niche skill set to ensure its effective and efficient implementation. This biodiversity finance solution could not have been introduced without a tax specialist. 


Alliance and partnership development
Legal and policy frameworks, policy advocacy
Sustainable financing
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution

Enabling factors

The use of niche tax skills was enabled through catalytic funding secured to employ such skills to undertake this Project.

Lessons learned

Key lessons learned from the niche skill set building block include:

  • Cross-sector bridges: attracting different skill sets into the mainstream conservation sector was a catalytic step in being able to introduce this innovative solution for biodiversity conservation.
  • Thinking outside of the box: the utilisation of a skill set uncommon in conservation, created an out-of-the-box solution;
  • Niche expertise are vital to achieve specific and intricate deliverables: the use of a very specific skills set and expertise regarding tax law was vital to achieving this innovation. The idea was insufficient and key skills were required for successful implementation.