By SARS Legal & Policy
The exchange of information among African tax administrations to combat fraud and tax evasion will be in the spotlight when member states of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) meet in Pretoria this week.
Law advisers and officials from ATAF member states, including the South African Revenue Service (SARS), will seek to finalise a draft treaty on mutual assistance in tax matters which will then be signed by the relevant Minsters of the ATAF member states.
When adopted, the treaty will provide for the exchange of information in tax matters, the carrying out of tax examinations abroad, the carrying out of simultaneous tax examinations, and assisting in the collection of taxes.
ATAF was established in 2009 as a forum for tax administrations in Africa to promote efficient and effective tax administration so as to foster economic growth and improved service delivery for the improvement of the living standards of all people living in Africa.
Currently the SARS Commissioner Oupa Magashula is the chairperson of ATAF and South Africa hosts the ATAF secretariat. Currently 34 African states are members of ATAF.
ATAF Executive Secretary and SARS Group Executive Mr Logan Wort says the meeting next week is in line with international moves to curb tax fraud and evasion through the exchange of information among revenue authorities.
"Africa needs to close the gaps that allow for illicit capital outflows and tax evasion and avoidance. This treaty will be the biggest tax treaty ratification of its kind undertaken anywhere in the world and will for the first time allow for co-operation and assistance between African revenue authorities,” Mr Wort said.
The following twenty-six African countries will be participating in the meeting: Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Comores, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The meeting takes place from Wednesday 25 July to Friday 27 July in Pretoria.