SARS monitoring your bank account

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Government Gazette no. 35090 (the Gazette), issued on the February 29 2012, has fundamentally changed the access the South African Revenue Services (Sars) has to every person’s bank account information.

The Gazette gives notice that in terms of section 69 of the Income Tax Act all “reporting institutions” are required to submit bi-annual returns directly to Sars in respect of all monies “invested with, loaned to and deposited” with the reporting institution, and in respect of interest received by or accrued to any person from the “reporting institution”. The first returns, covering the period 1 March 2012 to 31 August 2012 are required to be submitted to Sars by 31 October 2012.

Accountholders may be lulled into a false sense of security in understanding this to mean that all banks will now simply submit information of all interest paid by the bank to an accountholder directly to Sars, instead of the accountholder being required to disclose the information to Sars themselves. Further reading of the Gazette proves this understanding dangerously inadequate.

Firstly, it is important to note how widely the gazette defines a “reporting institution”. Included in the definition are, for example, all banks (including Postbank), companies listed on the JSE that issue bonds, debentures and similar financial instruments and organs of state that issue bonds (government bonds).

Secondly, that the “reporting institutions” must submit returns for both natural persons and, as per the Gazette, “other persons” which will include companies and trusts.

Thirdly, and possibly of greatest concern, is the information the Gazette dictates each return must contain. Whilst the requirements differ slightly for natural and “other” persons, the issues raised below are common to both.

The returns must disclose for all persons: identity particulars and tax reference numbers, the closing balances of the accounts at the end of the relevant six-month period, any interest amounts received or accrued by the persons from the “reporting institutions” and interestingly, monthly totals of all debits and credits to the accounts.

No clarity has been provided on the use Sars will make of this information. The information at the very least will assist Sars in identifying all persons who should be registered for Income Tax and VAT purposes and the non-disclosure of all receipts and accruals (local and foreign) by registered taxpayers when making provisional payments and submitting returns.

via Moneywebtax – Sars has more access to your bank account – Income tax.

SARS tax amendment for ownership of secondary properties

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Last year South African Revenue Services introduced a tax amnesty covering capital gains tax, transfer duty and secondary tax for all natural persons South African citizens willing to transfer property owned by them in a company, a trust or a close corporation into their own names.The amnesty, it was made clear, would expire in December 2012.

This “enlightened” measure, says Tony Clarke, MD of Rawson Properties, was hailed by the property sector as a breakthrough because the capital gains tax on companies 15% was high and on trusts higher still 20%, whereas by contrast individuals usually pay only ±10% and more importantly are exempt of tax on the first R1,5 million capital gain.

However, there was one major snag: the exemption applied only to property in which the owner “ordinarily resided”, i.e. his primary residence. Second homes, holiday homes, investment properties and the like initially could not be transferred to individual ownership without paying in full the taxes referred to.Now, however, that has all changed. The recently promulgated Tax Laws Amendment Bill allows secondary residential properties to benefit from the amnesty in the same way as primary properties – provided the transfer is set in motion, i.e. not necessarily completed – by December 2012.

Clarke said that there will still be cases in which it might be preferable to hold the property in a company or other legal entity.  He pointed out, too, that the conveyancer’s fee would remain payable.Nevertheless, he said, the vast majority of property owners stand to gain significant tax benefits if they make use of the amnesty before it expires and he advised them strongly to do so.

via SARS tax amendment for ownership of secondary properties – SA Commercial Prop News | Commercial Property News in South Africa

Sars nails security boss for R2.2m

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A former Durban police detective, who now owns a security company, is facing a tax fraud, alternatively tax evasion, charge for just over R2.2 million after a company audit by the SA Receiver of Revenue.

Sandile Nkabinde, 37, who is now wheelchair-bound, appeared briefly in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday. Nkabinde and his close corporation, Inside Edge, which trades under the name Sandile Security Services, have been charged for tax fraud.

According to the charge sheet, Nkabinde is listed as the sole member of the company that is registered as a value-added tax vendor. The state alleges that Nkabinde intended to defraud Sars by submitting false VAT returns on behalf of his company for the period June 2006 to February 2010, causing Sars to suffer a prejudice of just over R2.2 million.

The security company had a contract with the Mangosuthu University of Technology, in Umlazi, during this time.

According to Nkabinde’s LinkedIn profile, he was a detective with the South African Police for 11 years. During this time as a detective, it said, he led a team of detectives that was responsible for investigating police killings in Durban. He was also part of a team that investigated the political killings in Richmond.

His company was listed as providing a service to various government departments, specialising in physical guarding, special events, bodyguarding, skilled investigators and includes former guerrilla freedom fighters.

Nkabinde is also listed as being a chairman of a non-governmental organisation that helps raise funds for paraplegics and quadraplegics.

State advocate Selvan Govender requested an adjournment for representations to be made, and Nkabinde will again appear on February 28.

via Sars nails security boss for R2.2m – Daily News | News | IOL.co.za.

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The rich come clean

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JOHANNESBURG – The South African Revenue Service Sars has uncovered thousands of unregistered high-net worth individuals HNWIs following a year-long investigation and has developed a DNA of these individuals that will allow it to discover thousands more.Its countrywide investigation has uncovered 9 300 HNWIs those earning a gross income of more than R7m per year or who have assets in excess of R75m who could be costing Sars R48bn in revenue, see chart. In a press statement released in April, Sars only had about 360 individuals in this income category registered.

via Moneywebtax – Sars uncovers 1000s of missing rich tax cheats – Income tax

If you are rich and under-declaring, come to Fixed Accounting where we legally help you to pay less tax.

Payment pitfalls for provisional taxpayers

Over the past few years, significant changes have been effected to the provisional tax rules. However, not all provisional taxpayers have kept abreast of these changes. The result? These taxpayers often do not fully understand their tax obligations and end up over-paying or, worse, under-paying their tax and having to fork out significant amounts of cash to pay the South African Revenue Service (SARS) the resultant penalties, additional tax and interest for non-compliance.

This article sets out the more important tax rules of which individual provisional taxpayers should be aware. It also highlights some common pitfalls that are usually overlooked and provides some tax tips.

via Payment pitfalls for provisional taxpayers – Personal Finance Tax | IOL Business

Keep your tax payments uptodate

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The  South African Revenue Service (SARS) has extensive powers to collect tax. These powers are contained in various tax laws and are intended to facilitate the prompt collection of tax that is due. There have been a number of court cases dealing with the limitations of SARS’ collection powers.

The Western Cape High Court recently gave judgment in a case dealing with SARS’ collections powers. The case related to a judgment obtained by SARS against Fastmould Specialist CC in respect of Value-Added Tax (VAT) and employees’ tax. The VAT Act and the Income Tax Act both contain provisions allowing SARS to obtain judgments against taxpayers by filing a statement with the clerk or registrar of any competent court. The taxpayer is not afforded an opportunity to oppose the granting of the judgment.

via Court affirms SARS’ power to collect tax