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Trust deficit between taxpayers and government grows

Wednesday, 09 September 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Amanda Visser
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Author: Amanda Visser (Moneyweb)

It may start to affect tax compliance and tax morality – media experts.

Inefficient spending by government, aggressive collections by the South African Revenue Service and opaque communication on e-tolls created a trust deficit between government and taxpayers.

Media experts on Monday warned that it may affect tax compliance and tax morality where people were willing to invest a huge amount of time, money and resources to avoid tax.

Moneyweb editor Ryk van Niekerk said Sars has gone through different phases in the past decade or so. It has been held in high regard and seen as a "pretty efficient” government agency.

However, it has not done itself any favours with recent "shenanigans” where the commissioner and several senior officials were suspended and eventually left the agency under a sex and spy cloud, Van Niekerk said at the annual Tax Indaba in Sandton.

"We have to see if that flows into the operation level. The worst thing Sars can do is to adopt a more political approach and link itself with certain politicians.”

Business Day’s editor at large, Hilary Joffe, added that not everyone was convinced that the agency had to get rid of some "rotten apples”.

"In the context of a government that is systematically attacking the integrity of some of our institutions, I do not think everybody was taking it for granted that the story of bad apples within Sars was indeed the story. There was quite a lot to counter that story,” she said.

"Even if that were the case, it must surely be a risk for an institution to loose so many senior executives right from the top and so much institutional memory and intellectual capacity in such a short time.”

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