Share with your friends

South Africa: Tax recovery by SARS on behalf of foreign governments

South Africa: Tax recovery by SARS

Section 185 of the Tax Administration Act No. 28 of 2011 sets out the steps to be followed by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to recover taxes on behalf of foreign governments via an international tax agreement (most commonly under an income tax treaty for the avoidance of double taxation).


Related content

Such income tax treaties generally reflect an agreement between the revenue authorities of two tax jurisdictions to enable them to eliminate double taxation.

In order to submit a request to SARS, the foreign revenue authority must complete and submit a request. The request from the foreign revenue authority must be in the prescribed form and must include a formal certificate issued by the foreign revenue authority specifically stating:

  • The amount of tax due
  • Whether the liability for tax due is disputed in terms of the laws of the foreign country
  • If the liability for tax due is disputed, whether such a dispute has been entered solely to delay or frustrate collection of the alleged amount of tax due
  • Whether there is a risk of dissipation or concealment of assets by the person

Once SARS receives the request from the foreign revenue authority, it may either issue a request for conservancy or a request for collection. At this point, the taxpayer must acknowledge receipt of the letter issued by SARS; agree on whether to pay the taxes to SARS or directly to the foreign revenue authority; request that the taxes be paid in instalments; or must provide proof of payment to SARS. If the taxpayer fails to comply, SARS may recover the amount in the certificate for transmission to the foreign country as if it were a tax payable by the individual under a provision of South African tax law.

Read an April 2020 report [PDF 121 KB] prepared by the KPMG member firm in South Africa

The KPMG logo and name are trademarks of KPMG International. KPMG International is a Swiss cooperative that serves as a coordinating entity for a network of independent member firms. KPMG International provides no audit or other client services. Such services are provided solely by member firms in their respective geographic areas. KPMG International and its member firms are legally distinct and separate entities. They are not and nothing contained herein shall be construed to place these entities in the relationship of parents, subsidiaries, agents, partners, or joint venturers. No member firm has any authority (actual, apparent, implied or otherwise) to obligate or bind KPMG International or any member firm in any manner whatsoever. The information contained in herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation. For more information, contact KPMG's Federal Tax Legislative and Regulatory Services Group at: + 1 202 533 4366, 1801 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006.

Connect with us


Want to do business with KPMG?


loading image Request for proposal