FAQ – Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP)

The SARS Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP) is administered under the Tax Administration Act, 2011 with effect from 1 October 2012.
To assist you with your VDP queries, some questions and answers have been put together. For more detailed information, please consult the SA Tax Guide Team.
Questions? ?Answers
Why is there a VDP??

?The purpose of the VDP is to enhance voluntary compliance in the interest of good management of the tax systems and the best use of SARS’s resources

?What does SARS want to achieve with the VDP?

?The VDP aims to encourage taxpayers to come forward on a voluntary basis to regularise their tax affairs with SARS and avoid the imposition of understatement penalties and other administrative penalties

?Which of the tax types are included under the VDP?

?The VDP is applicable to all taxes administered by SARS (excluding Customs and Excise)

?Who may apply for VDP?

?Any individual or company who want to voluntary disclose their tax affairs to SARS, provided they qualify for the VDP

?Are there any requirements for a valid VDP application?

?Yes. In order for an application to be valid, the following requirements should be complied with:

  • The disclosure must be voluntary. It must involve a default which has not previously been disclosed by the applicant or representative of the applicant
  • It must be full and complete in all material aspects
  • It must involve the potential imposition of an understatement penalty in respect of the default
  • It must not result in a refund due by SARS
  • It must be made in the prescribed form and manner
?What happens if a VDP application is incomplete?  New!

?An incomplete VDP application is discarded by the VDP unit without further notice to the applicant.

Examples of these are –

  • where the applicant does not reflect a description of the default
  • if the source code is absent
  • if the application relates to outstanding tax returns of which SARS is already aware  
?Where do I find an application form?

?The application form is called the Voluntary Disclosure Application Form (VDP01) and can only be accessed via the SARS eFiling system

?Do I need to be registered for eFiling to apply for VDP?

?Yes. It means that you first need to register on the eFiling system before you can apply for VDP.

?What’s happening on the processing of Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP) applications?

?VDP 1 New!

The initial Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP 1) that commenced in 2010 and closed on 31 October 2011 attracted in excess of 18 000 applications.

On 11 December 2013 processing reached the applications submitted at 20h00 on the night of 31 October 2011. 

A total of 1 566 VDP 1 applications were work-in-progress in the inventories of VDP evaluators on this day, and the last remaining 1 451 VDP 1 applications must still be allocated to their inventories. 

The VDP unit is currently processing an average of 504 VDP 1 cases per month.  The quality of applications received on the last day deteriorated significantly towards closing time, which is negatively affecting turnaround times. 

There are, however, numerous cases that can summarily be cancelled for absence of a disclosure or for attempting to avoid late return penalties. 

All in all it is now expected that VDP 1 cases will be finalised between March and May 2014.  Updates will continue.

VDP 2  New!
On 11 December 2013 the unallocated inventory for VDP 2 applications stood on 2 225 cases. 

Resources dedicated to VDP 2 have been deployed to process the applications, but full production will only be reached when the VDP 1 cases have been finalised.

The current average turnaround time for VDP 2 applications is 182 days.  As resources from VDP1 free up, the turnaround time will improve substantially.

?What must I do if I have made an application for VDP?

?General (VDP 1 & 2)
The following items are important to note:

  • It is not necessary to request re-confirmation of VDP applications.  If the eFiling system recognised the application, then the application is on the VDP register and will be processed;
  • The applicant will be contacted when the application is allocated to a VDP evaluator for processing.  Additional or outstanding supporting documentation can then be submitted;
  • A VDP application can at any time be cancelled by sending an email to vdp@sars.gov.za;
  • Outstanding tax returns that relate to a VDP application can be submitted to SARS through normal channels at any time before the VDP application is processed.  If the return is assessed by SARS before the VDP application is processed, interest and penalties that are eligible for VDP relief will be waived when the VDP application is processed and a VDP agreement concluded.  The SARS debt collection division is aware of this and will refrain from instituting collection steps on eligible interest and penalties until the VDP application is finalised.



VDP Documents

The application form is only available under eFiling.