The South African Revenue Service (SARS) today stepped up its national campaign to encourage small businesses in South Africa to get their tax affairs in order by applying for the small business tax amnesty.
SARS Commissioner Pravin Gordhan led a team of 150 SARS officials on walkabouts to business premises south of Durban to engage potential taxpayers about the amnesty and to better understand the environment in which a broad spectrum of formal and informal traders conduct their business.
Areas covered include Isipingo, Umlazi, and Clarewood.
The small business tax amnesty was announced during Finance Minister Trevor Manuel?s Budget speech in February this year.
The tax amnesty offers a unique window of opportunity to a wide spectrum of small businesses to regularise their tax affairs and to grow their businesses without fear of prosecution. It is also part of Government?s ongoing efforts to assist small businesses access opportunities in the formal economy.
The public response to the amnesty during the first month ? it commenced on 1 August 2006 ? has been slow. To date SARS had received 3 454 enquiries, issued 2 635 application forms on request and received 366 applications for amnesty.
SARS has set up a dedicated Small Business Amnesty Call Centre (0860 12 12 20) to assist potential applicants. Educational material in all official languages is available at all SARS branch offices and on the website www.sars.gov.za.
Today's visit to formal and informal businesses gave SARS valuable insights into the needs of such businesses, how they understand their tax obligations and the levels of awareness about the amnesty. Many business owners required more information and assistance from SARS to become tax compliant by applying for amnesty.
These indicators highlighted the need for SARS to intensify its public engagements and communication with taxpayers about the amnesty and to provide greater capacity to taxpayers to facilitate participation for the amnesty process.
SARS is very encouraged by the response from the majority of business owners to today's outreach initiative and will extend these activities to other economic centres over the next few weeks.
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE