15 June 2022- SARS has noted the recent allegation made in the press and social media that the Commissioner for SARS is a director of a company owned by President Ramaphosa. It is insinuated that SARS has therefore remained silent about the tax matters of President Ramaphosa. It is further alleged that the Commissioner received a call from President Ramaphosa to assist and, according to a source, the Commissioner denied the request.
Commissioner Kieswetter is not and never was a director of any company owned by Mr Ramaphosa.
When he became Commissioner in May 2019, Mr Kieswetter, in keeping with good governance as well as the relevant policies, resigned all his directorships.
Mr Kieswetter has fully abided by his public commitment to manage his personal affairs in a manner that creates public confidence and will continue to do so.
The recent allegations are therefore not only incorrect but also mischievous in trying to link fake news about the Commissioner’s alleged directorship to SARS’s obligation to maintain taxpayer confidentiality.
The guarantee of confidentiality of taxpayer information is what taxpayers get in return for the compulsion to provide full information to SARS. Without the statutory guarantee of confidentiality, the expectation that the taxpayer will be candid and accurate with SARS diminishes. This compact written into law between SARS and taxpayers is the foundation of our tax system, without which SARS cannot function properly. The law is very clear in setting out the conditions under which the SARS Commissioner or any SARS official may disclose taxpayer information. SARS will abide by the law.
The Commissioner did not receive a call from President Ramaphosa as alleged. Moreover, the Commissioner does not involve himself in or deal with any taxpayer matters personally. SARS wants to reiterate that it continues to exercise its mandate for all tax infringements without fear, favour and prejudice irrespective of the role and status of any taxpayer.
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