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Manuel Optimistic On Tax Evasion Fight

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

07 October 2002


South African Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel last week expressed cautious optimism that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) may be making ground in the fight against tax evasion, joking that it may still be the national sport, but 'the team may not be as strong as it was'.

Mr Manuel was speaking at the launch of two new SARS initiatives; an SARS service monitoring office, and a new dispute resolution process.

He revealed that the monitoring office will deal with administrative and procedural issues, and will provide another port of a call for dissatisfied taxpayers. With regard to the new dispute resolution process, the Finance Minister announced that detailed rules will be released for publuc comment within the next few weeks.

It also emerged last week that proposed guidelines for the regulation of tax professionals are in the SARS pipeline, although no discussion document is available as yet.

'This [the formulation of guidelines] is an important initiative that will place all types and levels of tax practitioners on a new professional footing with appropriate accountability for the advice they give,' Mr Manuel explained, adding that:

'We now have a relationship with the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and big firms outside of SAICA. It's early days but we can engage and talk about issues, which is encouraging.'


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