Voluntary disclosure in South Africa

Voluntary disclosure in South Africa

Voluntary disclosure in the South African context often involves two processes that go hand-in-hand, namely 1) the voluntary disclosure of tax defaults; and 2) the regularization of Exchange Control contraventions.

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It is important to distinguish between said processes insofar as they serve different purposes, require distinct and separate application processes and are respectively administered by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the South African Reserve Bank's Financial Surveillance Dept. (SARD FinSurv).

Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme

On Wednesday, 24 February 2016, the Finance Minister announced a Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (SVDP) for taxpayers to regularize their offshore assets and the related income (hitherto undeclared to SARS).

The SVDP applies both to income tax defaults and Excon contraventions. South Africans holding unauthorised assets off-shore would be a given a six month window to regularise past tax defaults and/or Excon defaults. The application window is from 1 October 2016 until 31 March 2017.

Why now?

It is stated in the Budget Speech that "With a new global standard for the automatic exchange of information between tax authorities providing SARS with additional information from 2017, time is now running out for taxpayers who still have undisclosed assets abroad."

Why KPMG South Africa?

KPMG has assisted numerous clients with VDP applications relating to all qualifying taxes, and is well placed to deal with the regularization given:

  • Our global reach and collaboration with other KPMG offices (including KPMG Switzerland)- Established relationships with foreign banks e.g. Swiss banks
  • Registered as the preferred service provider for certain Swiss banks
  • Relationships with the SARS VDP unit and SARB Financial Surveillance Dept.
  • Deep experience with relation to earlier VDP programmes and how SARS and SARB approach such applications
  • Established and well-staffed VDP team with strong Tax VDP and Exon regularisation expertise

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