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Sars gets R1bn revenue boost from undeclared offshore assets

More than 2 000 taxpayers made use of the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme.

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) has collected slightly more than R1 billion from the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (SVDP) in 2016.

Taxpayers with undeclared offshore assets and income were offered a window to come clean by voluntary disclosing tax and exchange control defaults. 

Sars said in a statement released on Tuesday more than 2 000 made use of the programme, which ran from October 2016 to the end of August this year.

The main reason for offering the opportunity was the introduction of the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) between tax authorities in September this year.

The agreement will ensure that banks and financial institutions exchange information of account holders in their jurisdictions with the South African tax authorities.

South African banks and financial institutions will also report information about foreign account holders to Sars, who will share this information with signatories of the agreement.

Sars said 2 018 applications have been tallied, which has assisted Sars in collecting over R1 billion in revenue. The total tax liability stands at R1.18 billion.

Finance minister Malusi Gigaba earlier estimated the potential tax income from the SVDP at R4 billion.

Keith Engel, CEO of the South African Institute of Tax Professionals, said the number was collected from a few big players who came forward.

“That said, the take-up probably could have been higher but for certain weaknesses in the amnesty,” he added. He suggested that the SVDP should have just been an improved version of the amnesty in 2003 in order to save time and hassle. 

“The new regime was more complex, requiring more paperwork. The net result was many found the five-year review of documents too much of a hassle.”

Engel is also of the opinion that the amnesty was strict in terms of advisors. “Accountants had to come forward as a whistleblower if they interviewed a client and did not pursue the amnesty (SVDP application). This meant that accountants were cut out of the loop.”

Most people use accountants as their tax advisors.

Engel said it is questionable whether Sars has the capacity to enforce and uncover “hidden” offshore savings. However, the exchange of information networks among countries are growing in effectiveness. This will assist Sars in finding the still undeclared assets and income.

Those who have not applied for offshore tax relief can still do so under the normal Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP) process.

Sars said the collected revenue provides a boost to Sars’ revenue purse “in a difficult economic period” and will assist the country in its socioeconomic development.

Spokesman Sandile Memela said applications continue to be processed by the VDP team existing of law, tax and finance experts.

The outcome will be known in due course, latest by the end of the current financial year.

Read more from Amanda Visser:

Sars sees serious slippage in compliance culture

More clarity on reporting requirements for multinationals

Rise in tax disputes set to continue

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COMMENTS   14

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I am impressed – SARS will love as much as you can give – going to a good cause – lots more Nkandla’s to fund!!!!

Bobbie – – you are so terribly negative about the country of your birth

What you say is mostly true – but I think you have lost the right to criticize the day you left SAFRICA

I set out my views about you and how terribly unhappy you are with your little hovel in the new country – – – you chose not to react which tells me I touched a nerve

Please leave us to remain as we are – happy to enjoy the lovely people and country and fight our own battles – I could use profanities to tell you where to go and what to do when you get there – but i prefer not to stoop down to your level

I have been browsing the site and its comment’s section for quite sometime, and I never had a account, but after reading your comment I made one just so that I could come and like this post.

I am tired of people who have already shipped themselves off to other countries bashing SA every time they get the chance to on online forums and the like, I always think to myself “well you left all of this behind didn’t you? so why not move on, go and enjoy the new problems you will face in your new country of residence”

can’t wait to see what SARS next scheme will be to steal more money from hard working people

I am sure that SARS expected much much more.

Does anybody think the Zuptas took advantage of the amnesty?

And pigs can fly. And I have a unicorn in my garden.

Didn’t the Nats institute similar witch hunters and threats to the general populace – seems the more things change the more they stay the same

so now SARS will be working on their next scheme to fork out money from us

Whether this is a billion too much or too little, it is a billion more than what they had before

I regard it as good news (despite the negative comments from those who live abroad and want to see the worst happen to SA ~to vindicate their decision to leave)

Well done!

if they just used the money what it is intended for, but they don’t and that is the crux of problem and the cause of all the negative feelings.

Illphil….

From your comment, one can only seriously question your mental state of health.

In your illogical haze, is it still possible for you to realise the extent of corruption in our government ??

That 95% of your hard earned tax money is plundered !!???…looted……ill spent…stolen…etc etc

Sorry that the truth hurts about SA…..might be embarrassing, but its a simple fact.

Our govt is *****

Otherwise, the ppl and country are great

You really do not have to concern yourself or get rude – hiding behind your computer

My opening sentence says it all – – it is a billion more than what was in the kitty before. IF you can not see that, then its your problem!

Your comments about your SA and govt are noted and supported – but that was not the subject matter of my comment.

@IllPhil

No, we do have to concern ourselves

Its precisely ppl like you who announce reports like this as ‘good news’….your words indeed !

By proclaiming the loot and plunder of citizens hard earned money as ‘good news’, puts you squarely in that same bunch of thugs who are destroying this country

Period.

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