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Greater tax transparency for multi-nationals a step closer

Wednesday, 27 January 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Amanda Visser
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Author: Amanda Visser (Moneyweb)

Additional record-keeping requirements published.

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has published additional record-keeping requirements for large multi-national companies which they will have to comply with in future.

Many companies have already included some of the required information in their transfer pricing documentation and on their annual tax returns, but there seems to be uncertainty about the format in which it must be available to SARS.

Karen Miller, Deloitte’s Western Cape transfer pricing leader, says it is unclear whether SARS is endorsing the country-by country reporting recommendations made by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The OECD last year finalised comprehensive measures to combat base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) after three years of intensive research and international cooperation.

One of the plans include the exchange of information between tax authorities and the need for multi-nationals to do country-by-country reporting that will assist tax authorities with their risk management process.

The OECD developed a template to ensure that there are not 20 or 30 different templates or different requests for information by tax administrators.

Miller, who is also chair of the South African Institute of Tax Professionals’ (SAIT) international tax committee, says the new requirements in itself are not overly onerous.

"Taxpayers have already been aware that preparing transfer pricing documentation is best practice and the existing tax return already contains some questions similar to the information requested,” she says.

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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.

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