In April this year (2018) SARS sent a strong message to the public by announcing their new “initiative” with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prosecute non-compliant tax payers including those who have not submitted their tax returns. We featured this in an earlier post, but here is the Media Release from the SARS website – posted on 16 April 2018;
This “initiative” is not new, nor is it uncommon in the rest of the world. In terms of the Tax Administration Act, failing to submit a tax return within the prescribed time (for any type of tax) has always been a criminal offence.
Previously SARS chose to issue penalties for non-compliance but they have always had the power to prosecute.
This means SARS can pick and choose who and when it wants to prosecute. It is completely legal and you should not test this power, unless you feel capable of taking on one of our most powerful institutions.
Seemingly good news, is that for criminal offences the onus is on SARS to prove guilt, while for civil cases the onus is on the tax payer to prove innocence.
Here’s what is considered a criminal offence in terms of the Tax Administration Act;
Criminal Offence SARS Can Prosecute Over:
Not filing returns
Not paying taxes
Failing to complete your tax return correctly
Making false or erroneous statements
Not registering with SARS
Needless to say, it’s very easy to prove that you have not filed a tax return, and therefore it’s very easy for SARS to successfully prosecute. Even if you have filed your tax return, filing it incorrectly has just as much weight as not filing at all.
Instead of challenging an age old institution we recommend you hurry up and comply. There are many legal ways to solve your tax problems, it just requires planning.
At Q-tax, we like to say tax is the enemy, and the only way to beat taxes is to plan ahead. It’s never too late to become tax efficient.
Here’s some information on Income Tax Returns you might find useful;
Tax Season is well under way, it started on 1 July.
Who Has To Pay?
You need to pay, unless;
- You earn less than R75 750 per year
- Are over the age of 65 (and earn less than R117 300 per year)
- Are over the age of 75 (and earn less than R131 150 pear year)
When Do I Need To Pay/Claim By?
- 21 September 2018 (if paying at a SARS branch)
- 31 October 2018 (if you’re a non-provisional taxpayer)
- 31 January 2018 (if you’re a provisional taxpayer)
If you would like some help getting started download our Income Tax Checklist now.