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SARS Starts High-Risk Sector Compliance Drive

by Lorys Charalambous, Tax-News.com, Cyprus

03 February 2016


The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has begun its focused approach, launched in December 2015, to enhance tax compliance in several high-risk sectors, starting with cash and carry businesses.

On February 2, SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane announced the launch of random on-site inspections targeting those businesses. On-site inspectors will perform compliance checks to identify registration and filing non-compliance.

SARS also uses a wide range of methods to detect non-compliance, including high-tech scans of import containers, cross-checking its information against third-party data, and on-site audits and tip-offs.

Depending on the intention and severity of the non-compliance, SARS can impose stringent penalties of up to 200 percent of all taxes owed for the period a business should have been registered and filing. In some cases, negligent taxpayers could face criminal prosecution.

However, SARS said it is offering relief to businesses who volunteer information about any tax that they owe. Taxpayers are urged to come forward via the Voluntary Disclosure Program (VDP) to avoid the more stringent penalties associated with forced compliance.

"Our approach is to ensure all taxpayers, both individuals and companies, do the right thing," said Moyane. "SARS would be doing a disservice to countless honest taxpayers if non-compliant taxpayers are allowed to operate without consequences."

"SARS believes in supporting those that try to comply," he added. "If you are not compliant, you should take the opportunity to put your tax affairs in order. This can be done through the VDP; the consequences will be less severe than if SARS establishes the non-compliance."

TAGS: South Africa | compliance | tax | business | tax compliance | law | enforcement | tax authority | penalties | Africa | Tax

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