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Lifman case: Supreme Court of Appeal rules in favour of SARS

Lifman case: Supreme Court of Appeal rules in favour of SARS

Pretoria, Sunday 1 March 2020 – South African Revenue Service (SARS) Commissioner Edward Kieswetter has expressed his appreciation of the judgement of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to dismiss with costs an application for leave to appeal by businessman Mr Mark Roy Lifman.
The SCA ruled last week that Mr Lifman had no reasonable prospect of success in his attempt to stop SARS from seizing his assets in settlement of a tax debt amounting to R352-million, excluding interest.
In June 2019 Western Cape High Court Judge Elizabeth Baartman also dismissed Mr Lifman’s application for an order to halt SARS’ execution orders to seize Mr Lifman’s assets and auctioning them off to recover the tax debt.
She found that his objections to the assessments raised by SARS had been filed “belatedly and opportunistically”. Mr Lifman then turned to the SCA.
According to Commissioner Kieswetter, this latest protracted legal battle is further evidence that SARS is working hard to regain the capacity it lost over the past few years in dealing with taxpayers who are avoiding their tax obligations through an abuse of the legal system.
The latest SCA ruling comes immediately after a similar victory for SARS when the SCA ruled against Mr Gary van der Merwe in a 10-year battle over his tax debt.
“I want to appeal to all taxpayers and traders to discharge their legal obligations of paying their fair share of taxes. SARS is committed to helping you to comply with your obligations and entrenching a culture of voluntary tax and customs compliance.
“It is through such voluntary compliance and the associated revenue that SARS collects that our country will be able to provide basic services to the poorest of the poor, whether in the form of social grants, basic education, housing, medical care and other public goods.
“However, I want to warn those who seek to remain non-compliant through whatever means, that SARS will not rest until we recover what is due to the fiscus,” Mr Kieswetter said.
He added that there is a worrying trend developing among employers who deduct tax through from their employees through Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) but then fail to pay over the money to SARS.
“This development of PAYE non-compliance is a cause for concern and SARS is determined to take every action to stamp it out. The same applies to all other forms of non-compliance from other taxpayers and traders, whether they are in public institutions, private companies or individuals,” Mr Kieswetter stated.
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