New Criminal offences – Taxpayers beware!

Various new criminal offences that have been brought in by the new Tax Administration Act (TAA) became effective from 1 October 2012.  These are in addition the current non-compliance and under-statement penalties that SARS have put into force.

These following include failing or neglect to:

  • Register with SARS in terms of a Tax Act  – Income Tax, Value Added Tax (VAT) or PAYE/SDL/UIF
  • Notify SARS of change in registered particulars
  • Submit a return or another document
  • Appointment of representative taxpayer (ie Public officer) or any change in such appointment
  • Retain documents as required by SARS
  • Issue of document to any person  under any Tax Act (ie VAT invoice or IRP5)
  • Answer truthfully to SARS’ posed questions, attend and give evidence
  • Comply with direct SARS directive or instruction
  • Gives assistance to SARS when conducting an audit or criminal investigation at a taxpayer’s premises

Penalty of a fine or maximum imprisonment of two years may be levied for the above.

Others include:

  • Submit a false declaration or statement to SARS
  • Signing of return/document that contains false information
  • Preparation or maintenance of false books of accounts/records or authorisation of the falsification of books/records
  • Make use of fraud or contrivance (or authorises the use thereof)
  • Make any false statement for purposes of obtaining a refund or exemption from tax

Fine or imprisonment of up to five years can be levied for the above.

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