SARS wants to take a closer look at the ‘400 billion rand’ South Africans have stashed abroad


South African Revenue Service (SARS) Commissioner Edward Kieswetter described the tax collector’s decision to target around R400 billion hidden in overseas accounts.

In an interview with eNCA, Kieswetter said South Africa has a protocol for automatic information exchange with around 160 countries – with actual data received from 87 countries.

“From these countries, we became aware that we have approximately 1.38 million registrations to report that we received for the reference period 2019.

“(These records) tell us that there is an amount of approximately R26.6 billion held in offshore accounts only of these 87 countries. This is how we come up with an amount well over 400 billion rand – that’s a simple translation, depending on the exchange rate of the day. “

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Kieswetter clarified that the actual amount of offshore money could be larger and that not all of that money was out of the country irregularly or illegally. He added that not all the money needs to be disclosed for tax purposes.

“What we’re saying to South Africans is that if you’ve taken money overseas, make sure you’ve disclosed it, because we’ve opened a window for taxpayers to contact us through a special voluntary disclosure program. “

Showcasing the latest collections of SARS income this week, Kieswetter said the tax collector also profiled a number of wealthy people in the country who enjoy a “ luxury ” lifestyle and demonstrate unexplained wealth in relation to their income.

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He said SARS has the ability to access a number of databases that track big-ticket items, such as luxury cars and expensive goods.

The commissioner said SARS has the ability to access a number of databases that track big-ticket items, such as luxury cars and expensive goods. The income collector then reconciles the capital to the income statement, he said.

Kieswetter said it is often the case that more information can be established from the assets and liabilities of these wealthy people, as opposed to the income and expenses they report.

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He added that in some cases, a civilian investigation of a person failing to report income turns into a criminal investigation as the person’s illicit transactions become evident.

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