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Sars is getting tough with tax defaulters

Sars is getting tough with tax defaulters. The South African Revenue Service’s recent successes range from non-compliant individuals, importers, exporters and cigarette producers.

The message is clear: Sars has bared its teeth over the last number of months with a zero-tolerance approach to any tax non-compliance. Writing in Moneyweb, Adriaan Kruger details numerous successful prosecution cases under the helm of Sars Commissioner Edward Kieswetter. These range from high-net worth individuals to the illicit cigarette industry and have resulted in numerous convictions and sanctions.

Growing the economy

For those business people who are compliant, Sars is committed to facilitating trade and growing the economy by providing businesses with clarity and certainty.

Kruger quotes Kieswetter in saying, “This is a warning that we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that those involved in criminal behaviour are dealt with harshly. We regard the overwhelming majority of taxpayers as honest and willing to comply. In doing this, they contribute to raising the revenue needed to help build a capable state that can provide for the well-being of all citizens.”

Taxpayers who want to rectify their less-than-stellar tax history or sustain their current compliance should use the VDP (Voluntary Disclosure Programme) application. With this, individuals can legally declare any undeclared assets. Best of all, there’s leniency on the penalties that would have occurred had they not done so. This is especially encouraged for non-compliant taxpayers who haven’t been flagged by SARS as yet. However, if Sars has already sent you communication about non-declaration of your assets, sadly, the VDP avenue won’t be possible.

But there is a last lifeline with the Compromise of Tax Debt application. This aids individuals and corporations alike in reducing their tax liability and provides a reprieve. Once an agreement is proposed and accepted, the remaining balance of the liability is written off by the revenue authority. Your accountant can help you with this.

So, the take-out is: don’t delay in becoming tax-compliant, because Sars is getting tough with tax defaulters. And the end result won’t be pretty.

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