In the budget speech at the end of February this year, the Minister of Finance announced a Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme “SVDP” to allow taxpayers with undisclosed and unauthorised assets abroad an opportunity to regularise their affairs with the relevant SA authorities.
All applications will be processed through the South African Revenue Service “SARS” together with the South African Reserve Bank “SARB” as tax non-compliance and exchange control contraventions will be dealt with simultaneously through one joint process.
The opportunity to apply is only available if there is no pending audit or investigation of either foreign assets or foreign taxes or pending investigations into contravention of exchange control rules. The relief is available to individuals and companies as well as settlors, donors and beneficiaries of foreign trusts as well as deceased estates.
In light of the current global standard for the automatic exchange of information between tax authorities around the world, the risks of maintaining undisclosed assets and income are very high. The Common Reporting Standard “CRS” is designed to harmonise tax information reporting around the world to ensure all countries get the correct tax take and that the flow of funds internationally is transparent, especially in the light of increased international terrorism. What is clear is that passing these assets on to your beneficiaries will become increasingly difficult in the future and this is the opportunity to rectify this.
We urge all clients who might find themselves in this position to consider applying for the relief offered in terms of the SVDP for the sake of sleeping well at night. We are equipped to make the application on behalf of our clients and would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with any clients.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted. (E&OE)