South African Revenue Service (SARS) Commissioner Edward Kieswetter is urging South Africans with undisclosed offshore wealth to apply for the Special Voluntary Disclosure program to declare their offshore financial assets.
Kieswetter’s announced that SARS has received data reporting that wealthy South Africans have billions of Rands in offshore accounts in which tax compliance has not has not yet been established.
“If you have taken money offshore, we have opened a window for taxpayers to come to us through a special voluntary disclosure program ”, said Kieswetter.
According to Kieswetter, South Africa is part of an automatic and information exchange protocol in which 160 countries across the globe have signed up. SARS and other foreign tax authorities have agreed to share data on offshore accounts of signatory countries.
At present, SARS has received data from half of the signatory countries that R26,6 billion is held in offshore accounts by South Africans.
“From those countries, we have become aware that about 1,38 million reportable records indicating that an amount of R26,6 billion is held in offshore accounts from only 87 countries”, said Kieswetter.
Potentially this amount could be higher considering the total number of countries who have signed up for the automatic information exchange, SARS Commissioner explained, “the actual amount could be higher and we estimate over R400 billion is held in offshore accounts”.
So far, SARS has received well over 3000 applications for the Special Voluntary Disclosure program which has revealed approximately R28 billion and yielded a tax outcome of R4.4 billion.
As more data continues to stream towards SARS intelligence, Commissioner Kieswetter explained that South Africans have massive undisclosed values of financial asserts offshore.
The Special Voluntary Disclosure program is an opportunity for honest South Africans to forward before SARS gets to them. Kieswetter says whoever fails to make use of the opportunity will ultimately face the consequences of non-tax compliance.
“Our work will continue and if SARS comes to you before you come to us then those affected individuals will naturally have to face the full force of the law”, said Kieswetter.