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South African Business Tax Amnesty Deadline Nears

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

30 August 2007


The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has reminded business taxpayers which have applied for the Small Business Tax Amnesty that the deadline for the submission of their 2006 tax return and financial statements is 31 August 2007.

Originally the deadline for the amnesty, which began in August 2006, was May 31, 2007, but the government chose to extend the deadline after SARS received a rush of last minute applications. These followed a campaign in conjunction with other government enforcement agencies to persuade companies operating in the informal economy to regularise their tax affairs. By the end of April 2007, SARS had received about 16,000 application forms from business owners, but by 2 June this had risen to well over 275,000.

In a statement issued on Tuesday however, SARS said that it had "done all it can to reach and encourage small businesses to take advantage of the amnesty opportunity".

SARS announced that its offices throughout the country would extend office hours to provide assistance to amnesty applicants with the completion of their outstanding documents, but warned that businesses which do not submit their documents before the expiry date may not receive amnesty from the tax department.

After the deadline, SARS will commence with "vigorous" enforcement actions against taxpayers who have either not applied for amnesty, or have submitted an incomplete application.

The scheme was available to businesses with a turnover of less than R10 million, and was designed to encourage small companies operating outside the tax system to tell SARS about undeclared income and to regularise their tax affairs. In return for not being punished by the tax and legal authorities, amnesty filers are obliged to pay a 5% tax on their newly-declared income.


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