SRA’S LIFELINE TO DEFAULTING TAXPAYERS
SRA Customer Service Manager Ricardo Kruger

SRA’S LIFELINE TO DEFAULTING TAXPAYERS

The Minister for Finance, Neal Rijkenberg, has promised to pardon defaulting taxpayers who voluntarily disclose unpaid taxes, and make a commitment to pay up going forward. The minister recently announced in his budget speech that SRA was committed to easing the tax burden on non-compliant taxpayers who were committed to cooperate with
the authority, as government leaves no stone unturned in mobilising increased domestic revenue. “Mr. Speaker, let me also indicate to this honourable house that the Revenue Authority is implementing initiatives to minimize the
burden for those who have been non-compliant over the past years. In addition to allowing taxpayers to liquidate
their tax debts in instalments, they have launched a Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP), or “tax amnesty”, which will see penalties and interest being waived in exchange for full disclosure of the extent of your non-compliance
and a commitment to be compliant going forward. May I implore all those who know that they have not been compliant to take advantage of this programme and approach the Revenue Authority before they come to find you,” the minister said. This has since been confirmed by SRA Customer Service Manager Ricardo Kruger, who said the VDP was already in place. He said his organization believed that this would improve tax collection, as it would provide an opportunity for those who may have been non-compliant all along to rectify such without having to incur penalties and interest. “It is a benefit that many taxpayers will appreciate and will want to take advantage of, which will most likely result in an improvement in the current compliance rate,” said Kruger. He, however, pointed out that there was a slight difference in the application of the VDP and Tax Amnesty, explaining that the primary principle of the
VDP was that any entity or individual who was aware that there were some taxes owed must voluntarily declare to the SRA, in which case penalties and interest due may be waived. On the other hand, he said, the mechanics of the Amnesty were yet to be decided – that is the conditions as well as the type of tax relief would only be known once it had been crafted. When asked if there were any cases of this nature that had been attended to by the SRA, Kruger said so far there was one entity that had come forward to declare that they had been non-compliant, and the matter
has since been rectified without them having to pay any penalties or interest. “We are preparing a communication campaign in a bid to have more taxpayers taking advantage of this programme,” he said. He further explained that if taxpayers wanted to apply for VDP they could get a form from SRA’s website or any of their offices and apply for consideration under this programme. The applying entity must attach all documentation that relates to the non-compliance, and the SRA will respond to the application within seven working days, providing details of the procedure that would follow thereafter. Kruger said of utmost importance in the process was that disclosure of non-compliance must be voluntary; which means that the applying taxpayer must not have been audited by SRA, nor must he have already been identified (in any way) by the SRA as being possibly non-compliant.

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