As the South African Government gears up to increase tax revenues, SARS is responding by intensifying its tax collection efforts. Taxpayers can expect more tax audits.
Acting SARS commissioner, Mark Kingon, said the revenue service was establishing various measures to ensure tax compliance. SARS’s large-business centre division, which provided specialist services and ensured compliance by large corporates and high-net-worth individuals, will be re-established by April 2019.
Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, made it abundantly clear that not paying taxes will not be tolerated. At a media briefing on Wednesday ahead of his budget speech to Parliament he said, ‘So please do render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar because Caesar can break your bones.’
Mboweni said he had commissioned Judge Dennis Davis to assess the tax gap — the difference between what SARS collects and what it expected to collect. ‘We need to understand why there is a gap between what we should be collecting and what we are collecting and then look at those serious areas which create a tax gap.’ He emphasised that SARS had to address tax morality by getting its auditing and investigative units back into shape. ‘It is actually saying you have got to pay your fair share and we will find you, and if we find you and you haven’t co-operated then there are criminal sanctions.’
At a time when the government is desperately in need of money, Mboweni announced that revenue collection for 2018-2019 is expected to be R15.4-billion less than that which was estimated in the medium-term budget policy statement in October. The projected shortfall of R27.8-billion has now been revised to R42.8-billion.
Mail & Guardian, 22 February 2019, by Tebogo Tshwane
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