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SARS Commissioner Named New Chair Of OECD Tax Forum

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

09 May 2008

The Organisation of Economic Cooperation And Development (OECD) has announced that Pravin Gordhan, Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS), assumed his new role as Chair of the OECD Forum on Tax Administration (FTA) on 1st May 2008.

The FTA brings together Commissioners from 30 OECD member countries and non-OECD economies to share information and experiences and to develop best practices for tax administration in the areas of taxpayer service and compliance.

With between 35-45 countries typically represented at each meeting and discussions focused around issues of major importance, the FTA has become the Forum of first choice for heads of national revenue bodies to interact with their counterparts.

“It is a tremendous honour for South Africa and SARS to be elected to chair the Forum by the heads of the OECD tax administrations and so to contribute to addressing the challenges faced by tax administrations globally. What makes this especially significant is that South Africa is an observer to the OECD’s Committee on Fiscal Affairs and not a full member,” Gordhan said.

The immediate priorities for the FTA arising from its meeting in Cape Town in January 2008 are to:

  • Build on the FTA’s study into the role of tax intermediaries, including a review of the role played by banks and high net worth individuals in tax planning.
  • Better understand global trends in business and their implications for tax administrations.
  • Contribute to establishing an International Tax Centre on the African continent in order to build capacity amongst African tax and customs administrations.

Gordhan was appointed Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service in November 1999 with the important task to transform South Africa’s Customs and Revenue administration.

He joined SARS as Deputy Commissioner in March 1998, following a successful term as Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, which had oversight over the implementation of South Africa’s new constitutional order after 1994.

While SARS Commissioner, Gordhan oversaw some important developments, including a marked increase in tax revenues, a major programme of tax policy reform and a visible increase in South Africa's tax compliance culture.

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