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Kieswetter: Sars is stable

Following years of mismanagement.
Edward Kieswetter says he would rather resign than comply with any political request at Sars. Image: Moneyweb

South African Revenue Service (Sars) Commissioner Edward Kieswetter says the institution has adopted a “politically neutral” methodology for detecting and selecting cases of tax non-compliance. 

“Regardless of your position in society, regardless of your status in society, if our case methodology places you on our radar then we will engage with such a taxpayer and we will seek to enforce our law and we will hold you accountable for you tax obligation,” Kieswetter told parliament’s standing committee on finance on Wednesday. 

The tax authority had previously been nearly decimated by political interference as highlighted in the Nugent Commission’s final report which showed the risks and damages associated with political interference at Sars.

No fear or favour

Kieswetter said the renewal of the revenue collector will see officials carry out its mandate without “fear or favour”, adding that he would rather resign than comply with any political request at Sars. 

Read: Report to allow criminal prosecutions by Sars at ‘advanced stage’

“Sars has to be independent [and] administer the laws professionally but also without fear, favour and prejudice … If any staff members allow themselves to be influenced by any third party … allow themselves to be co-opted and choose to collude [with third parties] … that is a red-card offence,” he said.

Responding to a question from ANC MP Gijimani Skosana about Sars action on recouping funds from corrupt activities, Kieswetter said the revenue collector has begun issuing letters of demand for over R28 billion in 2019/2020 compared to R3 billion in the previous year. 

He added that the institution is also involved in 570 investigations where it is estimated it will be able to recoup R4 billion.

Zondo-revelation cases

Within state capture projects, Sars is involved in 85 civil matters and 58 criminal ones that have arisen from revelations coming out of witness testimonies at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into allegations of state capture Commission.

Seven of the civil matters have been finalised and 32 of the criminal investigations have been completed, while 27 of the matters have been handed over to the National Prosecuting Authority.

From its activities in combating financial and tax crimes, Sars has recovered R2 billion which consists of over 570 cash collections and detection and prevention of over R223 million in fraud attempts, Kieswetter said. 

Compliance declines

Kieswetter was presenting the institution’s 2021/2022 annual performance plan to the standing committee. He noted that under the current economic environment brought forward by the Covid-19 pandemic “tax revenue collection efforts will remain constrained and Sars is already experiencing declines in registered taxpayer and trader compliance levels”.

Part of the revenue collector’s objective to ensure tax compliance will see it implement a system that will make non-compliance difficult. 

“Taxpayers and traders who negligently, deliberately, aggressively, or criminally stay out of the tax system or do not comply will be detected immediately when non-compliance occurs,” Kieswetter said in a presentation to the committee. 

“They will experience a response appropriate to the nature and degree of their non-compliance, which progressively, may include friendly reminders to more intrusive and investigative engagements that enforce compliance.”

More stringent enforcement will see Sars issuing asset seizure orders, instituting court action and criminal prosecution. 

Kieswetter said although the road to recovery for the institution is still a long way ahead, Sars is “stable”.

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COMMENTS   12

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Mine the Zondo commission revelations.

This guy has been deployed by the anc. So why woud there be less political interference???

Just comes from a different faction now!!!

TSK!!!!

100%

We need action taken on all those who were involved in State Capture…. fat chance those individuals and organisations paid tax.

Glad to read that SARS is “stable” (sounds like a hospital patient after one moerse medical emergency)

But how stable are the people they hand our money to ?

Under Zondo above “Seven of the civil matters have been finalised and 32 of the criminal investigations have been completed, while 27 of the matters have been handed over to the National Prosecuting Authority.”

DONT SEE ANY ARRESTS AS YET SO WHY MENTION THIS. MAYBE JUST PAYING LIP SERVICE.

They’ve launched a series of knee-jerk audits of 2021 PAYE reconciliations, asking for reasons why the monthly salary numbers fluctuate. After the UIF paid out TERS payments to assist companies when the same government shut down our economy. But, sure, let’s waste everyone’s time forcing us to tell SARS what happened last year, just so they can state publicly that they have hundreds of investigations on the go.

“… red-card offence” seems bit partisan considering the parties that love red flags – joke!
Unfortunately your e-filing system is not so stable – not even your special browser works properly in all instances.
Hopefully some of those matters from revelations at the Zondo commission are against ANC and their family beneficiaries and not just against other parties. But I would not take a bet on it. How about getting the record of donations to the ANC and trace the source of those funds – there should be a nice big add back and possibly a nice big tax bill to those who acted as intermediaries in passing on the funds in exchange for favours.

But the same institution puts a target on wealthy individuals but will never go after the taxi bosses and other informal sectors that are not paying tax.

Expand the tax base, the 45% is daylight robbery and it kills innovation. Why must we work to share 50/50 with the government when others are not paying tax and when the looted funds are not returned?

SARS is stable-ler (if there is such a word? The Hilux is tougher-er…) since the captured Tom Moyane left, and along with “protect me from yourself” IT head.

Can we now see a drop in Income Tax please Mr Kieswetter? For sure, HOW ELSE is economic activity going to be improved? (which is positive for revenue collection)

Lower tax = higher econ activity = more collections.

(…many of the emigrations the past 5+ years, a high tax in SA had a role to play. And now a large part of the tax base is eroded! Well done Zuma)!

Maybe they should tax those ill-gotten gains of Ace and Zuma and the other cadres that were involved in corruption. SARS would then become the stablest SOE in SA.

In order to Enhance Tax Compliance SARs Needs to urgently LINK up to CIPRO and Make Sure all companies on it data based is Registered for TAXATION<VAT<UIF ETC especially those Shelf Companies, which is used for corruption payment.SARS needs to also Ensure any tender that is given,is first vetted by SARS for Tax Compliances before they are approved,in this way sARS will keep track and help to eliminate corruption. Another vehicle that seems to be used for corrupt and tax evasion are all the Trust ,especially one controlled by the Law and accounting profession.

SARS to Should Employ allthe 755 Chartered Accountant and put them on track to do all of the above and their cost would be recouped in no time

*** Toothless SARS ***

Toothless when it comes to Mansions in Dubai.

End of comments.

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