SARS to employ more tax specialists to deal with base erosion, profit shifting
THE South African Revenue Service (SARS ) is to significantly beef up its capacity to deal with base erosion and profit shifting, which has received intense focus by MPs over the last few months.
SARS commissioner Tom Moyane said on Wednesday 24 more tax specialists would be employed in the transfer pricing unit of its large business centre.
The move follows the concern raised by Judge Dennis Davis and parliamentary committees about the woeful lack of capacity in SARS to deal effectively with the illegitimate shifting of profits to low tax jurisdictions through transfer pricing. The issue is one of concern to governments globally and this has brought the activities of multinationals such as Google, Starbucks and Amazon into the spotlight.
The sums leaving SA illegally are unknown but estimated at billions of rand. Judge Davis pointed out during parliamentary hearings on base erosion and profit shifting that the investment by SARS in additional capacity would reap rich rewards in terms of the additional tax collected.
Mr Moyane told members of Parliament’s standing committee on finance that a training programme had been developed to improve the skills and capabilities of staff to deal with base erosion and profit shifting. A think tank had been established to deal with matters such as tax avoidance, the illicit economy and a host of other activities aimed at evading the payment of tax.
Another initiative of SARS had been to establish dedicated desks to assist small businesses with tax matters.
So far, 138 desks have been established in 50 of SARS’s branch offices.
“The small business desks have the capacity to provide services to over 14,000 small business taxpayers a week. We aim for every new branch to be configured with small business desks,” Mr Moyane said.
Bain & Co and advisory firm Gartner had completed diagnostic work on how to modernise the operations, technology systems and decision-making of the organisation.
They had been contracted to undertake further work.
“We want to improve the ease of doing business with SARS at all levels,” Mr Moyane said.