SARS offshore disclosure programme nets R2.7bn so far

Sars building in Krugersdorp. (Website)
Sars building in Krugersdorp. (Website)

Cape Town – The SA Revenue Service has so far collected R2.7bn through its Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme, or SVDP. The tax authority expects to collect a further R580m by the end of March 2018.

According to a statement issued by the revenue service on Thursday, South Africans with unauthorised foreign assets and income have used the disclosure programme to enter into agreements with SARS to the value of over R3.3bn.

The R3.3bn also includes agreements reached with SARS related to information contained in the Panama Papers.

Last year SARS told Parliament that close to 2 000 South Africans were identified in the Panama Papers, a tranche of emails leaked in 2016 which exposed large amounts of money sheltered in tax havens.

According to SARS, more than 759 high net worth individuals made use of the normal VDP programme since 2012. During the SVDP period, between October 2016 and August 2017, 195 high net worth individuals applied to voluntaily disclose their unauthorised offshore assets and income.

The VDP process is still open for taxpayers who did not use the SVDP.

The R2.7bn is a boost to the taxman’s collection efforts, said spokesperson Sandile Memela. The SARS revenue target has recently been revised upward to R1.217trn. The tax authority has collected R1trn so far. Commissioner Tom Moyane previously said he is confident that SARS could reach the target by March 29.

“This revenue will go a long way in adding much value to the state’s revenue needs,” said Memela.

“Our successes under the SVDP are also a signal to other non-compliant taxpayers to talk to SARS before we talk to them,” he added.

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced a tax inquiry into SARS’ governance and administration issues. SARS said it would cooperate with the inquiry.

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