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South Africa: Voluntary disclosure relief, failure to submit tax returns

South Africa: Voluntary disclosure relief

Applications filed by taxpayers seeking relief under a voluntary disclosure programme of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) have been rejected when the “default” was declared in periods when no tax returns were filed.


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According to informal discussions with SARS voluntary disclosure unit, the policy is that when a registered taxpayer fails to file tax returns, an application for relief under the voluntary disclosure programme will be declined on the basis that SARS is aware of the default.  As a result, SARS does not consider the disclosure to be “voluntary.” This view applies even if the taxpayer failed to file tax returns for a number of tax periods and SARS did not send out reminders or issued estimated assessments.

Yet, when a taxpayer has not registered for tax and accordingly has also failed to submit tax returns, and then the taxpayer registers, the voluntary disclosure application is regarded as being voluntary, provided that the voluntary disclosure application is submitted within a “reasonable time” after registration. 


Read a February 2019 report [PDF 118 KB] prepared by the KPMG member firm in South Africa

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