An exemption notice for tax advisors, in terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), [was] gazetted today in a special Government Gazette No. 29299.
Effectively the exemption provisions will remove the probability of prosecution for tax advisers, accountants and tax practitioners who assist or advise a client to apply for the Small Business Tax Amnesty.
In terms of the FICA, advisers who act as intermediaries between their clients and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) are required to report suspicious transactions arising from information disclosed to [them] by the client.
SARS is confident that the exemption notice ? available at www.sars.gov.za and www.fic.gov.za ? will positively influence the public response to the Small Business Tax Amnesty which came into effect on 1 August this year. Tax advisors play a crucial role in amnesty processes and a communication has been issued to the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and the Independent Regulatory Body for Auditors informing their respective memberships of the exemption regulations.
The amnesty is available to small and emerging businesses with a turnover of less than R10 million per year. Such businesses are required to apply to SARS for amnesty by making full disclosure of their financial affairs.
In turn, such businesses may qualify for amnesty which would cover a variety of taxes, including Income Tax, VAT and payroll taxes.
Although the initial response to the amnesty has been slow, the SARS Small Business Tax Amnesty Unit received its 1 000th application during the course of the week. To date 1 102 businesses have applied for amnesty while the Amnesty Unit and the SARS call centre received close to 20 000 public enquiries from prospective applicants.
In addition 3 taxi owners in Soweto today came forward to apply for amnesty. These were the first applications from this sector which, in SARS' view, has a number of prospective applicants and possible beneficiary of the amnesty. A fourth application was also submitted from the owner of a funeral parlour.
The applications were received by SARS officials who visited the Walter Sisulu Memorial in Kliptown, Soweto. This is part of an extensive outreach and tax education campaign SARS will extend and intensify over the next few weeks. This initiative requires of SARS branch office staff to assemble teams who visit small businesses areas across the country.
SARS remains confident that the number of applications will increase steadily over the next few weeks. Public enquiries regarding the amnesty can be made to the Small Business Amnesty Unit.
Call Centre number:
0860 12 12 20
011 602 5502
P O Box 292
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE