Legal Articles and Guides
Tigon-accused Sue Bennett has until Monday to respond to a request from trial Judge Brian Spilg that she put any admissions she is prepared to make on the table. Moneyweb notes that Bennett and Gary Porritt are on trial in the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) on more than 3 000 counts of fraud, racketeering and contraventions of the Income Tax Act and the Prevention of Organised Crime Act relating to the collapse of financial services group Tigon.
A recent Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment of Milnerton Estates Limited v Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service (1159/2017)  ZASCA 155 has confirmed that when a property developer enters into an agreement with a buyer to transfer the property, even if the developer only actually gets paid in a subsequent tax year, the income is deemed to have accrued to the developer at that date.
Underwear model Candice van der Merwe (26) has given notice to the Minister of Finance of a summons for R1bn for constitutional damages, according to Rapport report. The model says in her notice to the Minister that she was taunted for years by SARS regarding a $15.3m donation received from her ‘companion’ at a luxury resort on the Seychelles.
While many SA businesses are either not registered for tax or are paying very little tax, SARS is taking a ‘shotgun’ approach to attacking large tax-compliant corporates. Major SA corporates employ dedicated tax managers who spend between 50% and 80% of their time dealing with multiple queries from multiple SARS offices, claiming they are ‘under siege’.
Sasol Oil has won an appeal lodged with the SCA, over a ruling which required the oil company to pay R1.3bn to SARS. A Fin24 report says the group issued a notice to shareholders indicating that the SCA upheld its appeal against the Tax Court of Johannesburg's ruling in favour of SARS in June 2017.
A Cape Town tax practitioner has been jailed for five years for defrauding SARS of more than R690 000. According to the prosecutor, Advocate Lunga Ntshokoma of the specialised tax unit, John Bantam swindled the taxman over a year while working for a reputable chartered accounting firm.
SARS is getting its money back from a Cape Town businessman‚ his son and their bookkeeper who stole R615 000, notes a TimesLIVE report. Thomas Fortuin‚ Tom-Ross Fortuin and Ivor Carolissen were convicted yesterday of 382 counts, including fraud‚ forgery‚ uttering and failing to submit income tax returns. The men entered into a plea bargain with the state in the Cape Town District Court.
A suspected kingpin of a multimillion-rand abalone enterprise told the Eastern Cape High Court (Port Elizabeth) this week that he was too uneducated to know that he needed to declare tax to the SARS while living the high life. According to a report on the IoL site, Julian Brown, a high school dropout, was testifying at his trial where he is being prosecuted for a string of charges which include racketeering between January 2015 and April 2016.
A Mitchells Plain tax practitioner has been found guilty of more than 100 fraud charges after he submitted false income tax returns for 28 taxpayers, says a Cape Argus report. John Bantam was convicted of 121 counts of fraud by the Bellville Regional Court.
SARS has warned taxpayers that they could be penalised if they do not declare cryptocurrency gains and losses. According to a Business Day report, SARS said it deemed cryptocurrencies – such as bitcoin and ethereum – as intangible assets, rather than ‘a currency for income tax purposes or capital gains tax’.
Several taxpayers have received threats from SARS that they are facing legal action because their tax payments are in arrears, says a Business Day report. However, it appears many of these taxpayers have filed objections to the assessments issued by SARS.
The Hawks have confirmed that an investigation into the second-in-command SARS executive and alleged money-launderer Jonas Makwakwa is ongoing, says a HuffPost SA report. Makwakwa was returned last week to a crucial job at the under-performing revenue authority after a year's suspension. SARS spokesperson Sandile Memela said the executive would not be suspended again following the Hawks confirmation that an investigation is still in progress.
South Africans have declared almost R35bn worth of foreign assets under the government-initiated special voluntary disclosure programme (SVDP) that closed last month, according to Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. He said that 2 002 SVDP applications were received by the cut-off date of 31 August, and the government had already identified over R1bn in tax liabilities.
The Treasury has agreed to significantly amend its proposal to repeal the 183-day tax exemption on income earned abroad by retaining the exemption and introducing a R1m ceiling on what can be claimed under it. A Business Day report says implementation of the proposal will also be postponed until 1 March 2020 instead of the initially proposed 1 March 2019 in order to give individuals more time to either adjust their contracts or their circumstances or to formalise their tax status, as is deemed necessary.
Tax experts yesterday urged National Treasury to give careful consideration to the economic implications of repealing a provision that exempts certain South Africans who work overseas from paying tax in SA. According to a Fin24 report, Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance hosted public hearings to allow stakeholders to give input on a range of new tax proposals from National Treasury.