The South African Revenue Service (SARS) today conducted a comprehensive engagement with small business owners throughout the Cape Town metropole to encourage participation in the small business tax amnesty process.
SARS officials visited 9 business complexes where small businesses operate. They were joined by Members of Parliament from the National Assembly's Portfolio Committee on Finance (PCOF). The tax amnesty for small businesses with a turnover of less than R10 million per annum, was announced in this year's Budget Speech by the Minister of Finance.
The purpose of today's engagement was to raise public awareness around the amnesty process; to encourage businesses to apply for amnesty; to extend SARS' services to business owners and to facilitate participation in Government's taxi recapitalisation programme and tendering processes.
Areas that were covered today include Khayelitsha, Nyanga Junction, Eisleben Business Park, Salt River/Maitland, Access Park, the Bellville train station complex, Kuilsriver Business Park, Mitchell's Plain Station Plaza and Gatesville.
The delegation of MP's, lead by the PCOF chairperson, Mr. Nhlanhla Nene, joined SARS officials at the Bellstar Plaza complex at the Bellville train station. The Plaza is a nodal point in the rail and transportation network which is used daily by a large number of working class commuters. Likewise, at Nyanga Junction, many small retailers and traders - formal and informal - who may benefit from the tax amnesty engage this market segment.
Mr. Nene viewed the small business walkabout as a valuable opportunity for public representatives and law makers to engage ordinary citizens directly. The participation of MP's also demonstrates Parliament's commitment to the small business tax amnesty and to ensure its success.
During the course of today SARS teams managed to establish contact with between 800 and 1 000 businesses to promote the amnesty and to issue them with amnesty application forms. These engagements also assisted SARS to better understand the challenges small businesses face and the environment in which they operate.
The window period during which small businesses can apply for amnesty expires on 31 May 2007. To date 3 450 businesses have applied for the tax amnesty to the SARS Small Business Tax Amnesty Unit. This number includes taxi operators who stand to benefit from the taxi recapitalisation programme and possible public tenders leading up to the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
The Amnesty Unit has also thus far responded to more than 20 000 public enquiries on the amnesty and have issued more than 10 000 forms to date to prospective applicants. The amnesty period remains a window of opportunity for small businesses to regularise their tax affairs with SARS. Businesses who fail to respond during this period face the risk of being assessed, audited and possibly prosecuted after 31 May next year.
SARS remains confident that today's initiative will contribute positively to the amnesty process.
Contact the Small Business Amnesty Unit
Call Centre number: 0860 12 12 20
Fax: 011 602 5502
P O Box 292
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE