SARS and other countries shared info on over 75 million accounts in global tax evasion crackdown

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Photo: SARS
Photo: SARS

Last year, more than 75 million financial accounts – representing assets of around €9 trillion (R160 trillion) – were automatically shared between countries as part of a global agreement that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) is part of.

SARS can share data of local accounts with 76 partner jurisdictions as part of the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, which is a global initiative to fight offshore tax evasion. 

The programme has generated €112 billion in additional tax revenues so far.

The latest numbers emerged from the global forum plenary meeting last week.

SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter is vice chair of the Africa Initiative of the global forum.

"As business models increasingly evolve to be more digital, non-local and virtual, and physical borders less relevant in the production and movement of goods and services, national tax bases are under constant threat of erosion. Working with tax administrations to improve the tax ecosystem to foster greater collaboration and co-operation is essential to leverage the benefits of tax transparency and exchange of information," Kieswetter said in a statement.

He added that SARS is increasing and expanding the use of data, with new valuable data sources supplement "vast third-party data repository enabling the detection of taxpayers and traders who do not comply".

“Non-compliance would be hard and costly, therefore I urge taxpayers and traders to do the right thing and voluntarily comply," Kieswetter said.

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