In this GMS Flash Alert we report on the newly announced Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (“SVDP”) and compare it against the existing Voluntary Disclosure Programme (“VDP”).
In the 2016 Budget Speech1 delivered on 24 February 2016, by South Africa’s finance minister, a Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (“SVDP”) was announced relating to the regularisation of offshore assets. The SVDP will run from 1 October 2016 to 31 March 2017.
We highlight below some of the important considerations of the proposed regularisation procedures and terms, and compare against the existing procedures and terms.
The OECD’s Automatic Exchange of Information initiative accompanied by the Common Reporting Standards (“CRS”), sets the framework for sharing information between tax jurisdictions.
The reality is that detailed information about South Africans’ unauthorised assets held abroad, as well as the undeclared income generated by such assets, will soon become available to the South African authorities.
The timing of the Budget announcement of the SVDP therefore gives individuals subject to South African taxation a once-off six month window to regularise their tax defaults and / or Excon contraventions, i.e., prior to the information exchange taking place.
South African taxpayers presently have an opportunity to regularise their tax defaults with the South African Revenue Service (“SARS”) by means of the Voluntary Disclosure Programme (“VDP”), which is applicable for all kinds of tax defaults (other than customs). South African Exchange Control (“Excon”) residents also presently have an opportunity to regularise any exchange control contraventions with the South African Reserve Bank (“SARB”). The exchange control regularization process (as it currently operates) is a separate process to the tax VDP.
The requirements for a valid VDP have been expanded and the said disclosure must:
a) be voluntary;
b) involve a “default” which has not occurred within five years of the disclosure of a similar “default” by the applicant;
c) be full and complete in all material aspects;
d) involve a behaviour which gives rise to the SARS being able to levy an under-statement penalty charge;
e) not result in a refund due by SARS; and
f) be made in the prescribed form and manner.
A person cannot apply for VDP relief if the potential applicant is aware of a pending SARS audit or SARS investigation that is related to the default which the potential applicant wishes to disclose or where the SARS audit or SARS investigation (relating to the “default”) has commenced but has not been concluded by SARS.
Like the VDP legislation which is already statutorily defined, the SVDP proposals will also be legislated. Provided the requirements for a valid VDP application have been met, the SARS has no discretion to disallow an applicant access to the VDP or SVDP. See the side-by-side comparisons below.
The tables below apply where the person is not already under investigation by the South African Reserve Bank.
The Regularisation Process
The KPMG International member firm in South Africa is liaising with SARS and the SARB regarding the final steps for approval/enactment of legislation, as well as how tax and exchange control VDP applications filed with SARS and SARB will be affected (if at all) given the announcement of the proposed SVDP.
1 For the 2016 Budget speech, click here.
If you require additional information or assistance, please contact your local GMS or People Services professional or one of the following professionals with the KPMG International member firm in South Africa:
tel. +27 11 647 5764
tel. +27 82 719 5643
tel. +27 82 718 8731
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in South Africa.
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