TOEGEKAP: Sars locked up 10 tax people. Photo: Pixabay

Ten taxpayers have been convicted and sentenced since April for failure to submit outstanding tax returns, South African Revenue Service (Sars) said on Monday.

Fines ranging from R2,000 to R20,000, as well as an admission of guilt fines, have been handed down by the courts. These taxpayers have now submitted their outstanding returns.

Sars announced in April that it was embarking upon an initiative with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to enforce compliance by prosecuting taxpayers who have failed to submit their tax or VAT returns, after continuous communication with the relevant taxpayers did not yield the required results.  

“The taxpayers who have been convicted now have a criminal record, as it is a criminal offence not to submit a tax return within the prescribed time for any of the tax types a taxpayer is registered for in terms of the Tax Administration Act,” said Sars in a statement.

Since April, the NPA has issued 35 summonses to taxpayers and VAT vendors to face criminal charges relating to their failure to submit returns. To date, ten cases have been finalised and 20 cases have been remanded after the first appearance of the relevant taxpayers in court. Some taxpayers have opted to make representations to the NPA.

“An additional 24 cases have been handed over to the police for further investigation, while 25 cases are currently still under investigation by Sars criminal investigations for handover to the relevant authorities for further investigation and possible prosecution. The courts have issued three warrants of arrest to taxpayers who failed to appear in court after being summoned to face criminal charges for non-submission of tax returns,” Sars said.

African News Agency