21 July 2022 – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) welcomes the judgment by the North Gauteng High Court dismissing the Chinese Railway Rolling Stock Corporation’s (CRRC) application to have SARS return money taken from its bank accounts in terms of third party appointments under section 179(6) of the Tax Administration Act No. 28 of 2011 as part of SARS efforts to collect outstanding taxes.
Section 179 of the Tax Administration Act empowers SARS to collect a taxpayer’s outstanding tax debt from a third party who holds or owes, or will hold or owe, money for or to the taxpayer. Section 179(6) empowers SARS to do so without first issuing a letter of demand for the tax debt to the taxpayer if issuing the demand would prejudice the collection of the debt.
This positive judgment protects SARS’ legal authority to use section 179(6) to collect outstanding taxes and represents a significant victory for SARS in its ongoing tax collection and compliance efforts, especially considering the country’s current constrained economic circumstances.
The conduct of non-compliant taxpayers deprives Government of legitimate resources to the detriment of both the State and the South African public who rely on basic services from government. SARS will continue to pursue its mandate of collecting all revenue due, without fear, favour or prejudice.
SARS Commissioner Mr Edward Kieswetter commended SARS for acting swiftly to recover taxes that were due to the fiscus. He said “any delay in acting with such speed would have seen the funds repatriated abroad, with little prospects of recovering the debt owed to SARS. Furthermore, this proves that SARS is on the right path to enhancing its ability and capability to deter non-compliant behaviour and the accompanying sense of impunity on the part of certain taxpayers. This is a major victory for the organization and citizens of the country.”
The Commissioner concluded that “SARS is absolutely determined to work with other law enforcement agencies to follow up on the Zondo Commission’s recommendations in areas that fall within the legal framework that governs tax administration in the country. This determination to work co-operatively with all relevant agencies reflects SARS’ commitment to spare no effort to hold those accountable for State Capture where tax crimes were committed”.
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