Tax Administration Act – Understatement penalty changes

Current provisions of the Tax Administration Act The Tax Administration Act No. 28 of 2011 (the TAA) became effective on 1 October 2012 and introduced the understatement penalty regime. In terms of section 222 of the TAA, a taxpayer must pay an understatement penalty in addition to the tax payable for the relevant tax period in the event of an “understatement”. What constitutes an “understatement”? An “understatement” is defined as any prejudice to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) or the fiscus in respect of a tax period as a result of:

Fight graft by taking leaf from tax books of Ancient Greeks

The tax debate, internationally and in South Africa, is progressively focusing on closing perceived tax loopholes (in order to boost collections) and increasing self-assessment through vigorous auditing by the tax authorities. In pursuing this goal, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has appointed Judge Dennis Davis as the chairman of the Davis Tax Committee. Davis has been quoted as saying that the challenge for the committee is to design a tax system that, among other things, achieves “the spending needs of the government and its distributional ambitions”.  The collection of taxes is important but addresses only one part of the equation.

VAT – where to lodge objection – Tax Court or High Court?

The Pretoria Tax Court made an interesting ruling in ITC No 1866 [2013] 75 SATC 268. Section 32(1) of the Value-Added Tax Act No. 89 of 1991 (the VAT Act) states that the following decisions of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) are subject to objection and appeal, namely: In terms of section 23(7) of the VAT Act notifying that person of SARS’s refusal to register that person in terms of the VAT Act. In terms of section 24(6) or (7) of the VAT Act notifying a person of SARS’s decision to cancel, or refusal to cancel his registration in terms of the VAT Act.

Tax Administration Act – Criminal investigation in relation to a serious tax offence

The Tax Administration Act, No. 28 of 2011 (the TAA) took effect on 1 October 2012. In light of SARS’s strong emphasis on compliance, this article considers the procedures SARS should follow where it believes that a serious tax offence might have been committed. A “serious tax offence” is defined as “a tax offence for which a person may be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period exceeding two years without the option of a fine or to a fine exceeding the equivalent amount of a fine under the Adjustment of Fines Act, 1991 (Act No. 101 of 1991).”

Malema trying to delay case – Sars lawyer

Pretoria – Julius Malema is seeking to delay a sequestration case brought against him by the SA Revenue Service (Sars), the High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday. Malema’s legal team brought an application asking for the matter to be postponed because he wanted to reverse an admission of liability, which he signed last year during negotiations with Sars.

Protecting your reputation: Deductibility of legal expenses

Authors: Nicole Paulsen and Danielle Botha (DLA Cliff Dekker Hofmeyer) The question of deductibility of legal expenses incurred to protect one’s reputation or the goodwill of a business seems to be a recent hot topic of conversation, especially when following the news. Interestingly, two international cases relating to the deductibility of legal expenses, both related to reducing reputational risk and challenging alleged unfounded allegations against the taxpayer, have recently been handed down in Australia and England, respectively.

Sars takes on South African billionaire

Pretoria – South African billionaire Mark Krok’s local assets, worth R298m, were placed under curatorship by the North Guateng High Court in Pretoria on Friday. The SA Revenue Service (Sars) obtained a final preservation order against the businessman. Judge Hans Fabricius confirmed a provisional preservation order granted in February last year against Krok’s South African assets. The assets include a large portfolio of shares in JSE-listed companies such as African Bank, BHP Billiton, Bidvest, First Rand, MTN, Vodacom, Sasol, SABMiller, and Tsogo Sun. They also include a plot in Plettenberg Bay, a R40m property in Clifton and a Jeep Sahara.

Shauwn Mpisane: More than 100 tax fraud charges withdrawn

Durban tender queen Shauwn Mpisane has walked out of the Durban Regional Court a free woman after the state withdrew more than 100 tax fraud charges against her. Mpisane, the owner of Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport, was charged with defrauding the SA Revenue Service of R4.7 million by submitting false VAT invoices, but applied to National Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Mxolisi Nxasana to have the case withdrawn over prosecutorial misconduct. This morning Nxasana was at court for the hearing, at which prosecutor Arno Rossouw told Magistrate Blessing Msane that he had been instructed to withdraw the case in terms of Section 6 (b) of the Criminal Procedure Act.

2014 – The South African “Tax Year” Ahead In Perspective

Aurthor: Hugo Van Zyl (Cross Border Tax and Exchange Control Specialist) The first and very important note to make, in dealing with South African tax issues: tax year 2014 ends on the last day of FEBRUARY 2014. The South African tax year for most individuals, are 1 March until the last day of February in the next calendar year. Corporates can change their tax year-end to align with the last day of their financial year-end, yet Trusts partners in a JV or partnership, are obliged to file assuming a tax year-end on the last day of February, despite their financial year-end being the last day of another month. Yes, sadly this date, Friday 28th 2014, is not even listed on the SARS webpage on important dates, yet is an extremely important tax deadline.

Ringo’s R1.5m ‘tax fraud’

                   Afro soul musician Ringo Madlingozi could face up to 15 years in jail or a hefty fine if he is found guilty of tax fraud and theft, said a tax lawyer on Sunday. Madlingozi allegedly hasn’t been paying his employees’ Pay As You Earn (PAYE) to SARS, but has been deducting it from their salaries since 1999. He reportedly owes SARS R1.5m in PAYE and R421693 in VAT. A charge sheet, which The New Age has seen, shows that the star has been hit with more than 40 charges of theft by SARS. He appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday and is expected to be back in court on 9 January 2014.