SARS receives hundreds of SVDP applications
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has received 606 applications so far under the special voluntary disclosure programme (SVDP) that allows taxpayers to come clean about their undeclared foreign assets. Of these, 253 applications relating to offshore assets valued at R6.5bn have been processed, SARS said in a statement on Thursday.
The SVDP also covers foreign exchange contraventions and are being processed by the Reserve Bank, which has received 943 applications of which 440 have been processed so far.
The SVDP programme comes to an end on August 31 and SARS is appealing to taxpayers with undisclosed offshore assets to use the time available to submit their applications.
“In line with SARS’ experience with previous deadlines, it is anticipated that the number of applications will increase significantly in the closing days of the SVDP window,” the statement said.
SARS said that where taxpayers were encountering difficulties in obtaining the relevant values of offshore assets — as required — an estimation of the values may be submitted. In this case, the application should be accompanied by a description of the efforts to obtain the information; the expected date by which the information will be obtained; and the method used to estimate the values.
“This is not an extension of the August 31 2017 deadline and will be guided by strict conditions and time frames, which, if not honoured, will forfeit the application,” SARS said.
It said 101 tax jurisdictions had committed to an automatic exchange of information under the new global Common Reporting Standard. The availability of this information would expose defaulting taxpayers to full taxation, full interest, no relief from penalties, and no relief from potential criminal prosecution.
In addition to the SVDP, there is an ongoing voluntary disclosure programme (VDP), which was launched in 2012. Taxpayers have the option to choose between the SVDP and the normal VDP, depending on which of the two programmes best fits their circumstances.
“Taxpayers with offshore assets funded with money that was already taxed in SA typically make use of the normal VDP,” SARS said.