The current voluntary disclosure programme (VDP) comes to and end in October 2011, but the good news is that a permanent VDP is to be introduced by the Tax Administration Act 2011, which is still in the form of a bill. The commencement date of this VDP is not yet known. What is also not known is whether there will be a gap between the date that the present VDP comes to an end and the date of the commencement of the new one. There are also some significant differences between the relief afforded by the current VDP and that to be provided by its successor. While the current VDP provides relief from criminal sanctions for statutory offences under tax acts and related common law offences, 100% relief for penalties and additional tax, excluding administrative and other penalties imposed under tax acts for the late submission of a return or the late payment of tax, and also interest, the proposed vdp will waive criminal prosecution for statutory offences under tax acts or related common law offences, grant the relief in respect of the new understatement penalties imposed by the Tax Administration Act (which will replace additional tax) to the extent referred to in column 5 or 6 of the understatement penalty percentage table in s 223 of that act, as well as grant 100% relief for administrative non-compliance penalties that may be imposed, again excluding a penalty imposed for the late submission of a return or a late payment of tax. Also, very significantly, the proposed VDP will not provide any relief for interest payable.
Section 240A of the Tax Administration Act, 2011 (as amended) requires that all tax practitioners register with a recognized controlling body before 1 July 2013. It is a criminal offense to not register with both a recognized controlling body and SARS.