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South African Tax Authority Tasked For 2014/15

by Lorys Charalambous, Tax-News.com, Cyprus

23 July 2014


Within his speech to parliament during the Budget Vote on July 21, South Africa's Deputy Minister of Finance, Mcebisi Hubert Jonas, explained the National Treasury's take on the strategic work expected from the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) during the 2014/15 fiscal year.

Overall, he said, SARS's objectives would be "to continue to improve tax and customs compliance, protect South Africa's tax base, play its part in enhancing regional integration by facilitating trade, do its bit in reducing the cost of doing business in South Africa, and continue to improve customer service by, among other things, expanding its network of offices."

Key projects will include ongoing work to improve the processing of tax clearance certificates, and to introduce single registration for taxpayers.

SARS is also implementing an improved complaints management system, and will work closely with the Office of the Tax Ombud to ensure the efficient and effective resolution of complaints.

In addition, Jonas mentioned that SARS is tasked with continuing to work with other tax agencies and international organizations on global tax compliance and enforcement issues, underpinned by greater access to tax information held in other jurisdictions.

He confirmed that the FIC's mandate is to help protect the integrity of South Africa's financial system from a range of suspected criminal activities, and in particular tax-related crime, fraud, and money laundering. It received more than 355,000 suspicious transaction reports from financial institutions during 2013-14, an increase of 141 percent over 2012-13.

During this year, he concluded, amendments to the FIC Act will be introduced "to bring it up to speed with the changing situation and international standards." Firstly, it is proposed that the amendments will allow accountable financial institutions to adopt a risk-based approach and, secondly, special measures will be taken to identify and oversee the accounts of "politically exposed persons," as well as the beneficial owners behind companies.

TAGS: individuals | money-laundering | South Africa | compliance | Finance | tax | business | tax compliance | law | enforcement | tax authority | standards | Africa | Tax

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