Now’s the time to own up!
They allowed applicants to submit incomplete applications with nominal amounts on the condition that they would submit more detailed information as soon as they could. As long as the basic application was lodged by the deadline, and the financial details were submitted within a reasonable period thereafter, the application was dealt with fully.
Schoeman says people should rather submit an incomplete application than doing nothing at all. “The only reason why one would do such a thing is because the risk of Sars rejecting the application or imposing penalties because of delay in getting proper information is less than Sars issuing an audit letter.”
Criticism of the complexity and cost of the current SVDP remains. Mazansky says in 2003 the same information was used by Sars and FinSurv. Now one needs to produce information for the period 2011 to 2015 to Sars, and for 2016 to FinSurv. The information required is also more detailed and complex this time around.
The “all-in cost” was 10% to cover both tax and exchange control in 2003 (assuming that the funds were left abroad).
The cost for exchange control alone amounts to 10% of the market value, and the penalty on the tax side is an effective 16% of the market value of the assets (calculated at a different date) plus interest from 2015 to date of payment.
Schoeman says the turnaround time for assessments varies between two weeks and several months. They have noticed a slow-down in the assessment process during the last month.
“It seems a lot of people have been waiting and many applications have been filed in the last month, which has impacted the processing capacity.”
Sars has received a total of 323 applications of which 174 has been processed to date (13/7/2017). Twenty applications were not successful.
“Applications were rejected due to incomplete applications, requests for cancellations, applications with similar previous defaults under the Voluntary Disclosure Programme, and some had no disclosures,” according to Sars.
Sars says it has received a request for a postponement of the due date but it is not under consideration.
In terms of the new global Common Reporting Standard for the automatic exchange of information between tax authorities, Sars will start receiving offshore third-party financial data from other tax authorities on a regular basis from September this year.
“Hence the SVDP window ends on 31 August 2017,” a Sars spokesperson said.
The amounts that have been disclosed, as well as the possible tax collection on the declared assets, will not be disclosed at this point, Sars said. ■