Tax offenders exposed

Fines ranging from R2‚000 to R20‚000 handed down by courts

SARS offices. File picture
SARS offices. File picture
Image: Reuben Goldberg

A funeral parlour owner‚ an air-conditioning company boss and two people offering a transcription service are among 10 delinquent taxpayers convicted and fined since April for failing to submit outstanding tax returns to the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

Sars named the 10 offenders in a statement on Monday.

"Fines ranging from R2‚000 to R20‚000‚ as well as admission of guilt fines‚ have been handed down by the courts‚" confirmed Sars.

Sars announced in April that it was embarking on an initiative with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to enforce compliance by prosecuting taxpayers who have failed to submit their tax or VAT returns.

The announcement came after ongoing communication with the relevant taxpayers did not yield the required results.

"The taxpayers who have been convicted now have a criminal record‚ as it is a criminal offence not to submit a tax return within the prescribed time for any of the tax types a taxpayer is registered for in terms of the Tax Administration Act‚" said Sars.

Sars said the NPA had since April issued 35 summonses to taxpayers and VAT vendors to face criminal charges relating to their failure to submit returns.

To date‚ 10 of those cases have been finalised.

Additional cases have been handed over to the police for investigation.

"The courts have issued three warrants of arrest to taxpayers who failed to appear in court after being summonsed to face criminal charges for non-submission of tax returns‚" said Sars.

Retired supreme court Judge Robert Nugent is currently chairing an inquiry‚ appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa‚ into governance at the tax agency.

- TimesLIVE