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South African Revenue Service Launches New Investigative Audit Programme To Curb Tax Evasion

by Lisa Ugur, Tax-news.com, London

22 May 2001


The South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the National Tax Board of Sweden teamed up last week for the launch of an audit programme which will, says SARS, enable the taxation agency to adopt "a targeted approach to tax evasion."

This approach is based on a computer programme that equips SARS with customised risk analysis software, known as SARAP. The audit programme is the culmination of a four-year partnership with Sweden’s National Tax Board. SARAP will be used for income tax audits conducted by SARS's corporate tax centre. After this pilot, it will be rolled out to other SARS offices and applied to other tax types.

A statement from SARS said: 'The launch takes place within the context of a wider transformation programme, which is aimed at changing SARS from a bureaucratic public entity into a value-adding, modern organisation. The new SARS will have a better understanding of where higher risks and revenue yields are located in the economy, and will - through targeted interventions - set out to raise levels of compliance and revenue collected.'

The audit programme, having been four years in the making, is extremely important to the South African government. Key figures present at the launch of the programme included Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel, the Swedish Ambassador, Ms Helena Nilsson, and Mats Sjostrand, the Director-General of the Swedish National Tax Board.

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