First National Tax Conference Held In Midrand
25 January 2008
Posted by: Author: Stiaan Klue
First National Tax Conference held in Midrand
South Africa’s first national tax conference was held at Gallagher Estate in Midrand on 24 and 25 January and hosted by the South African Institute of Tax Practitioners (SAIT).
In her opening address the Institute’s chairperson,Jesmane Boggenpoel, emphasised the significant role and influence of tax professionals on the tax-paying public, including corporates.She said that tax professionals play a huge part in achieving fairness, transparency, good corporate governance and efficient tax administration in South Africa.Boggenpoel also referred to Minister of Finance,Trevor Manuel’s Budget speech in 2002, when he first announced the regulation of the tax profession in South Africa.According to Boggenpoel "Many individuals and business taxpayers in South Africa receive advice and assistance from tax consultants and advisers, but the minister expressed a concern that the tax practitioner bears limited responsibility for the advice given.
Minister Manuel proposed that in order to promote better compliance and ensure that taxpayers receive advice consistent with the tax legislation,SARS will initiate a discussion on the regulation of tax consultants and advisers in South Africa, with appropriate sanctions in the event of non compliance with tax legislation.”In his opening address to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Forum on Tax Administration conference held in Cape Town earlier in January, the minister again stressed the importance of tax as a fiscal instrument. Here the focus was again on tax professionals, the accounting and legal professions and investment banks. His concerns, however, were that intermediaries could influence at tempts to raise the levels of compliance in both a positive and negative manner
Manuel gave the example of intermediaries making the tax system more accessible to taxpayers, while on the other hand marketing or facilitating aggressive tax strategies that undermine the policies of government and perhaps even influence perceptions of what could be considered fair and equitable.In the tax environment,that is of particular concern,as the role of providing stability,redistribution and predictability cannot be understated.
Boggenpoel supported the minister’s concern and said that it is imperative that South Africa builds relations with taxpayers on the basis of a different framework,one designed around providing social responsibility and civic duty.That would be both to society’s and the community’s benefit.She continued to say that tax intermediaries provide an essential function in guiding taxpayers towards their social responsibilities and duties.
The conference was attended by leading international tax institutes,including the Irish Taxation Institute’s chief executive,Mark Redmond,the Taxation Institute of Australia’s representative,Michale Payne-Mulchy,the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria’s president,Kalideen Adigun and the UK IAB’s chief executive, Malcolm Trotter.
Local presenters included Stiaan Klue, chief executive of SAIT, Sharon Smulders of the University of Pretoria, Prof. Jackie Arendse,chairperson of the technical commit tee of SAIT, Prof. Lynette Olivier of the University of Johannesburg,Henk Heymans of Probeta accountancy development and Kerry Watkin of EFGS Attorneys.
The full papers presented during the conference are available on SAIT’s website at www.thesait.org.za.
Source: By Stiaan Klue (TaxTALK)