Sars accepts Malema tax commitment

malemaEconomic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema’s acknowledgement that he failed to comply with past tax obligations was welcomed by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) on Monday.

“The sentiments and apology expressed in the public statement released by Mr Malema are also welcomed,” spokesman Adrian Lackay said in a statement.

Sars accepted Malema’s commitment to remain compliant in future, and viewed the process as ongoing, with Malema accepting further assessments for the 2011 and 2012 tax years.

He said in September 2012, Sars obtained a judgment in the High Court in Pretoria confirming Malema’s outstanding tax debt at R16.2 million.

“Since then, with interest accruing, the amount has increased to R18 million,” Lackay said.

Earlier on Monday, Malema admitted he had not attended to his tax affairs the way the law required.

“I left my financial affairs in the hands of others without making sure that my obligations were complied with,” he said in a statement following the extension of his provisional sequestration.

“I accepted and acted on the advice from persons, which in hindsight, I should not have.”

The High Court in Pretoria on Monday postponed the sequestration matter to August 25 after an agreement was entered into between Malema and the Sars.

Nic Maritz, for Sars, told the court the two had entered into a conditional compromise agreement.

Judge Cynthia Pretorius signed a draft order handed up to her.

Lackay said Malema had made two prior offers to Sars, which had failed to meet statutory requirements for them to be considered by the service.

Malema had to meet the requirements in order for the compromise to be considered favourably, which included making a full and verifiable disclosure regarding his assets, liabilities, and sources of income.

“Until Mr Malema has fully complied with payment arrangements as agreed, in terms of the approved compromise agreement, the provisional sequestration order as well as the appointment of the curator bonis will remain in place.”

Lackay said if Malema failed to disclose a material fact related to his settlement, supplied materially wrong information, or broke the conditions of the agreement, Sars would bring the final sequestration order into effect.

When contacted by Sapa, Lackay said the details of the agreement were confidential.

In 2010 Sars contacted Malema about his failure to submit tax returns. It took Malema 18 months, after many attempts by Sars, to file his outstanding returns.

Malema also failed to register the Ratanang Trust for tax purposes, and Sars had to do this on his behalf. Sars attached some of Malema’s property to recoup the taxes he owed.

In February, high court Judge Bill Prinsloo ordered that Malema’s estate be provisionally sequestrated.

A final sequestration order would affect Malema’s political career, as he would not be allowed to serve as a Member of Parliament.