The South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) have signed a landmark agreement committing both organisations to work together to achieve greater levels of tax compliance and good corporate governance in South Africa.
The "Statement of Intent" was signed by Mr. Pravin Gordhan, the Commissioner of SARS, and Mr. Ignatius Sehoole, the Executive President of SAICA.
It pledges the two organisations to contribute to the nation's development through sustainable economic growth.
A formal accord, to be signed by the end of August, will create an institutional framework to give effect to the principles of co-operation discussed in the Statement of Intent, which outlines the essential roles that each organisation must fulfil to be responsible citizens.
"SAICA recognises that it must facilitate compliance with the fiscal laws of South Africa through its interaction with its members and the professional tax advice given during those interactions," says Sehoole.
"SARS' mandate is to ensure that South Africans comply with the tax laws. To that end," explains Mr. Tumi Matsheka, SARS General Manager of Corporate Relations, "one of SARS' key roles is to provide accessible, responsive and accurate service."
The agreement is the culmination of an engagement process that began about two years ago. It has been a process that saw SARS engaging with SAICA, as well as with the firms in public practice, on measures to promote good corporate governance within the South African commercial environment. As part of this, SARS and SAICA meet on a regular basis to resolve issues at national and regional level.
Sehoole is confident that the institutional framework will provide all SAICA members with a guideline for conducting tax planning within the ambit of the law. The Statement of Intent is to be circulated to all SAICA members before the formal accord is signed.
He points out that CA(SA)s are required by the SAICA Code of Professional Conduct to uphold the law. "The Statement of Intent is a clear signal from the chartered accountancy profession in South Africa, whereby it commits itself to applying good governance principles in tax planning."
Sehoole says that members of other organisations who provide tax advice would need to engage with SARS to bring their members into line with the framework.
SARS and SAICA look forward to include other tax practitioners in the accord.
Contact for more information: SARS: Adrian Lackay, 083 388 2580 SAICA: Ignatius Sehoole, SAICA Executive President Phone: 011 621 6647
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE