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Another chance for taxdodgers to come clean

Wednesday, 03 February 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Amanda Visser
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Author: Amanda Visser (Moneyweb)

Current cost of disclosure seen as a disincentive, but taxpayers urged to avoid criminal penalties.

The announcement of another tax and exchange control amnesty in this year’s budget is keenly awaited by some South African taxpayers.

The looming implementation of the Common Reporting Standard for the automatic exchange of financial information between more than a hundred countries seems to be fueling the desire for another chance to come clean.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) developed the standard, which is set for implementation by September next year. South Africa has been one of the first signatories of the agreement to exchange information.

South Africans received a tax and exchange control amnesty in 2003-04 which "cleaned-up’ funds to the tune of R65 billion. Some say that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Small businesses have also been offered a chance to come clean, and in 2010 there was another window period offered for taxpayers who had outstanding issues.

Johan van der Walt, committee member of the South African Institute of Tax Professionals (SAIT), says the ideal is another "standalone process” to deal with exchange control and tax issues.

Currently, South Africa has a dual process: a statutory process through the Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP) run by the South African Revenue Service (Sars) for tax matters and a non-statutory discretionary process for exchange control contraventions.

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