14 June 2019 – Customs officials intercept drugs worth R12 million at ORTIA

Pretoria, Friday, 14 June 2019 – Customs officials this week intercepted drugs with a combined value of approximately R12 million in three separate incidents at the Oliver Tambo International Airport (ORTIA).

On Wednesday, 12 June 2019, Customs officials intercepted a male passenger attempting to smuggle just over 3 kg heroin, with an estimated value of R9,2 million,  out of the country.

The passenger was stopped and interviewed by Customs officials as he was boarding a flight to Europe. He was requested to accompany them to a designated area where he was asked to unlock his bags, which had been checked in and retrieved. In the Customs search area his bags were scanned and searched meticulously.

The Customs team found hidden objects in false compartments of the bags, which tested positive for heroin. He was arrested by members of the South African Police Service (CAS 106/06/2019).

In another incident, Customs officials placed a detention on cargo which arrived in Johannesburg from Lagos on 13 June, following on information received from the Crime Intelligence unit of the SA Police Service (SAPS CI).

Upon inspection, and with the assistance of detector dogs, four packages were collected containing 4 kg of ephedrine (crystal meth) with a street value of R2,2 million. The packages were handed over to members of SAPS’ Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks).

A parcel of ephedrine valued at R630 000 was also found in a Mail Centre at ORTIA. The parcel, weighing 2,8 kg, will be handed over to the Police for further investigation as well.

SARS pulled off these successes in collaborative efforts with the SAPS Crime Intelligence unit and other related departments.

11 June 2019 – SARS welcome Mark Lifman court ruling

PRETORIA, Tuesday 11 June 2019 – SARS welcomes the judgement handed down against Mr. Mark Roy Lifman and 35 applicants in the Western Cape High Court today, Tuesday 11 June 2019.

This follows the stay application brought by Lifman to prevent SARS from proceeding with collection action.

In 2015 SARS had initiated collection steps against Lifman. But the unit executing the investigation was disbanded in 2016.

Lifman’s application was based on his allegation that exceptional circumstances existed in that  SARS committed to  conduct an internal review and reconsider the assessments issued. He said this was communicated to Lifman by an Auditor in SARS’ Cape Town office.

SARS can confirm  that the action of the auditor was irregular and the individual has subsequently left the organization. 

The High Court confirmed the following:

  • The Tax Administration Act of 2011 makes no provision for the reconsideration of an assessment contended for in the application;
  • The applicable mechanism to dispute an assessment issued by SARS is through Dispute Resolution provisions contained in the Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011
  • That the application appears to be an abuse of the process 

This judgment allows SARS to proceed with collection steps against the Lifman and the applicants.

4 June 2019 – Tax season 2019

Pretoria, 4 June 2019 – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has improved online filing and filing at a SARS branch with several exciting innovations for Tax Season 2019 to make it simpler and more convenient for taxpayers to file an income tax return.

The innovations also include the issuing of customised notices indicating specific documents required in the event of an audit or verification and a simulated outcome issued before a taxpayer has filed.

The objectives that drive these changes are improved service delivery, increased conversion to online channels such as eFiling and the SARS MobiApp for simple income tax returns (which excludes provisional tax returns), as well as improving our ability to detect non-compliance.

The revamped SARS MobiApp will make it even easier than before to use a smart phone to file a simple income tax return because of the following new and convenient features: 

• simpler navigation

• the introduction of biometric authentication

• a one-time pin as an added security feature

• the ability to reset username and password

• security questions

• and the scanning and uploading of supporting documents.

The other online platform, eFiling, has been improved to make it easier to navigate and perform the functions necessary to file a return, submit supporting documents and make a payment as well as improved browser compatibility.

This year taxpayers who meet ALL of the following criteria need NOT submit a tax return:

Their total employment income for the year before tax is not more than R500 000

• They only receive employment income from ONE EMPLOYER for the full tax year.

• They have no other form of INCOME (e.g. car allowance, business income, and rental income, taxable interest or income from another job)

• They don’t have any additional allowable tax related deductions to claim (e.g. medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions and travel expenses).

To further reduce unnecessary trips to SARS branches, taxpayers who are not required to file a return will receive a simulated outcome from SARS as if they had filed a return. The taxpayer can accept this outcome or update the return and file.

Tax Season 2019 starts on 1 August for taxpayers who file their income tax returns at a SARS branch.

However, taxpayers who go to a SARS branch will be encouraged to register as users of eFiling and the MobiApp. Once they are registered for these two online channels our staff will demonstrate how to use these online channels to file a simple income tax return. SARS branches will provide wi-fi for taxpayers to use eFiling or the MobiApp in our branches.

Taxpayers who are registered for eFiling or have access to the MobiApp can file their income tax returns from 1 July via these channels.

The closing dates for Tax Season are as follows:

31 October 2019 for branch filing. 

4 December 2019 for non-provisional taxpayers who use eFiling and the MobiApp.

31 January 2020 for provisional taxpayers who use eFiling.

SARS thanks all taxpayers who comply with their tax obligations. We remain committed to continue the important work that ensures a high level of tax morality and a culture of voluntary compliance. We will empower the taxpayer with important information:

– To understand their tax paying obligations,

– To make it easier to comply, and

– When required, allows SARS to act decisively and enforce compliance

In partnership with all role-players, SARS will continue to serve the higher purpose of enabling and building a capable, democratic state that fosters sustainable economic growth and social development in the interest and wellbeing of all South Africans.

24 May 2019 – SARS extends Track and Trace tender timelines

Pretoria, Friday 24 May 2019 – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) wishes to announce the extension of a tender for the provision of a Production Management and a Track and Trace solution for cigarettes that is published on the SARS Website.

The extension allows the Commissioner, Mr Edward Kieswetter the opportunity to apply his mind, consider all relevant factors and consult further.

SARS re-emphasises that this strategic intent seeks to address a significant compliance and revenue risk emanating from illegal and unethical practices, whilst tackling unlawful economic activities, especially in the tobacco industry.

Further details will be provided in due course through the normal procurement process including the extension period.

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27 May 2019 – SARS closes Alberton branch due to fire

Pretoria, Monday 27 May 2019 – The South African Revenue Service has closed the Alberton branch following a fire breakout that damaged the 1st floor today, Monday 27 May 2019.

The building was evacuated and no injuries were reported.

Consequently, operations have been stopped at the branch until the affected areas are declared safe for business. The Mobile Tax Unit will be deployed at the Alberton Campus to provide limited tax related services. 

Customs Traders and clients are advised to conduct business at 1st floor OR Tambo Airport, New Agents building, Kempton Park or SARS Customs Pretoria, (Local), corner Francis Baard (Schoeman) and Lillian Ngoyi (Van der Walt Street), SARS Main Building, Pretoria. These offices will provide services on the Rules of Origin, Cash Office and Licencing and Registration.

Related Customs documents can also be handed in at the Alberton Campus, Enforcement building reception, St Austell Street, 15 McKinnon Crescent, New Redruth, Alberton. These include DA 63, DA 66, TDN submissions and Acquittals.

However, for Revenue Tax related queries taxpayers are requested to visit alternative branches in close vicinity in Soweto – Dube, Soweto- Orlando East, Rissik Street, Edenvale, Boksburg, Benoni and Roodepoort.

The South African Revenue Service apologises for any inconvenience caused and assures all taxpayers that operations will be restored as soon as possible.

24 May 2019 – End-May deadline for employer declarations fast approaching

PRETORIA, 24 May 2019 – Employers are reminded that all Employer Annual Reconciliation Declarations (EMP501), Employee Tax Certificates [IRP5/IT3(a)s] and, where applicable, Tax Certificate Cancellation Declarations (EMP601) for the period 1 March 2018 to 28 February 2019 must be submitted to SARS by 31 May 2019.

It is crucial for employers to submit their annual reconciliation within the deadline and issue their employees with IRP5/IT3(a) certificates.  These are the main documents required for individual taxpayers to file their personal income tax returns during Tax Season, which commences on 1 July 2019.

There are elements on the EMP501 that must reconcile for the reconciliation submission to be successful. These are:

  • Monthly Employer Declarations (EMP201s) reflecting  monthly Pay As You Earn (PAYE) deductions, Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and Skills Development Levy (SDL);
  • Payments made (excluding penalty and interest payments);
  • Employee Tax Certificates [IRP5/IT3(a)s] generated; and
  • Employment Tax Incentive calculations, if applicable for the period.  

By requesting a Statement of Account after a submission on eFiling, employers are able to view any outstanding debt, outstanding returns and unallocated payments.

Declarations can be submitted via @syFile™ Employer or eFiling.   Manually completed payroll tax forms are no longer accepted.  Employers are encouraged to avoid the last-minute rush and ensure time for corrections, if required.

Copies of all declarations submitted must be kept for a minimum period of five years. 

Since SARS uses the information declared by employers to prepopulate personal income tax returns, employees are reminded to check the information on their IRP5/IT3(a) certificates as well as the information submitted on tax certificates from third party institutions such as medical schemes.  If information on the tax return is incorrect, the employee is required to approach their employer or third party institution to correct the information.

SARS tax education workshops on the use of e@syFile™ and employer annual reconciliation declarations are available before the deadline at various branches around the country.  The schedule is available on the SARS website at ‘Useful tools_Learn about Tax‘.
The SARS Contact Centre can be contacted on 0800 00 7277 while guidelines on how to file can be obtained from the SARS website under the section on Businesses and Employers.

14 May 2019 – Former Customs Auditors Jailed for Corruption

Pretoria, Tuesday, 14 May 2019 – Two former SARS Customs auditors were sentenced to three years direct imprisonment for corruption in Durban last week, 9 May 2019.

Pranesh Maharaj from La Mercy and Reuben Moodley from Newlands West were both caught red-handed with a cash bribe of R100 000 in a brown paper envelope in their pockets in a police operation in March 2018.

The two auditors acknowledged that they had issued a notice to a well-known KwaZulu-Natal businessman in February 2018, advising him of an imminent audit of companies where he was a director. During a follow-up meeting, they solicited a bribe of R200 000 from him “to make his tax problems disappear”.

Later the same day, Maharaj contacted the businessman, asking for an advance payment of R10 000, which was duly paid. Maharaj did not inform Moodley of this arrangement, nor shared the money with him.

The businessman, however, reported the matter to the police. A decision was taken to set up a police trap in terms of section 252A of the Criminal Procedures Act. The businessman provided the cash, which was divided into two envelopes, each containing R100 000.

The Police pounced on the accused as they were walking away, after the businessman handed them the envelopes in the parking lot of the Standard Bank, Kingsmead Branch on 2 March 2018, as was arranged between them.

The Durban Regional Court also sentenced the two auditors an additional two years imprisonment, conditionally suspended for five years. Maharaj offered to repay the R10 000 that was paid to him by the taxpayer.

Both employees resigned during a SARS disciplinary process on in August 2018.

SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter welcomed the sentence, adding that there is no place for dishonest employees at SARS.

“We have a zero tolerance for dishonesty and unlawfulness. As we forge ahead on a path of restoring a culture of integrity and service excellence in our institution, we would like to assure citizens that SARS will take harsh measures against employees who betray the public trust,” he said.

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13 May 2019 – SARS Beitbridge 198.49 Kg Crystal Meth Bust Estimated at R 2-Million

PRETORIA, Monday 13 May 2019 – During the early hours of yesterday morning, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) Customs officers intercepted a female traveller attempting to smuggle 198.49 kg of crystal methamphetamine (meth), estimated at R2-million, into South Africa at the Beitbridge port of entry.

The incident happened when the female traveller with two luggage suitcases was asked to put her possessions through the Customs Baggage Inspection area. Upon physical inspection, an off-white crystal like substance concealed in multiple colourful decorated purses with plastics was found, containing substances that reacted positive to tests.

The goods were detained and handed over to the South African Police Service (SAPS) for safe-keeping and further investigation, and the suspect was arrested.
Preliminary investigations indicated that the traveller had flown from abroad into a neighbouring country, and tried to enter South Africa by bus through Beitbridge.
Local police have since handed over the matter to the Hawks for much further investigation. The suspect is expected to appear at the Musina Magistrate Court still today.

The successful operation was the result of an ongoing cooperation between SARS and other port based law-enforcement agencies, which remain committed to protecting our borders and facilitating legitimate trade.


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30 April 2019 – SARS seeks technology to curb revenue leakages in illicit tobacco industry

Pretoria, Tuesday, 30 April 2019 – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has embarked on a number of strategic initiatives to curb revenue leakages emanating from illegal and unethical practices in the illicit economy.

The illicit economy ranges from an underground economy, which operates outside the rules and regulations of the country, to organised crime, and includes the illicit trade of products. 

South Africa experiences significant losses in Excise revenue due to a global increase in the manufacturing, supply and sale of illicit excisable products. In response to this challenge, SARS has embarked on a process to mitigate such illicit and non-compliant activities by means of improved policy, enhanced processes and the use of advanced technology to uniquely mark products, in order to strengthen the enforcement environment and ensure overall control of the supply chain.

SARS is looking to introduce the track-and-trace marker technology in the cigarette industry, which will enable the organisation to monitor the journey from cigarette manufacturing plants to points of sale and/or import or export trades.  This non-intrusive technological innovation is expected to boost the monitoring and control of duties and taxes in this industry significantly.

A tender for the provision of a Production Management and a Track and Trace solution for cigarettes has been published on the SARS Website.

The reconstituted Illicit Economy Unit at SARS has hit the road running with a number of impactful enforcement activities already in the public domain, whilst continuing with other new and historic investigations in the Enforcement domain.

Enquiries: Contact or Sandile Memela at 082 8003750.

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