Sat Sep 23 00:28:17 CAT 2017

Mpisane did not evade tax: Defence

By Sapa | 2013-05-09 07:41:30.0

Businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane had no intention of evading payment of tax, the Durban Regional Court heard.

During cross-examination, Rafik Bhana, SC, for Mpisane, said if the SA Revenue Service had the opinion that Mpisane had plans to evade tax, they would not have reduced her additional tax penalty from 200 percent to 100 percent.

State witness Waheeda Osman, who is also a tax auditor at Sars, agreed with Bhana.

Mpisane is accused of inflating invoices by more than R5 million in an attempt to cut her tax bill.

She is also accused of violating the Close Corporations Act by remaining the sole member of Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance, and Transport CC when she had a previous fraud conviction.

She has pleaded not guilty.

In 2008, Osman motivated a 200 percent penalty on Mpisane's additional tax.

The matter was reviewed by the Additional Tax Committee (ATC) who decided that Mpisane should pay 100 percent additional tax.

Bhana told the court Osman lacked objectivity as she failed to attach the weight of the Voluntary Disclosure Process and attempts by Mpisane to regularise her tax affairs.

He said the ATC did not agree with Osman's penalty of 200 percent additional tax.

"If Sars views there was an intention to evade tax, they cannot reduce additional tax," Bhana said.

He said as the matter progressed through the Sars processes her additional tax was reduced to zero percent.

Osman said a criminal case was opened against Mpisane because she presented fictitious invoices in 2010.

Bhana said Sars was aware of Mpisane's fictitious invoices after the Alternative Dispute Resolution process.

He said Osman's knowledge of Mpisane's 2005 fraud conviction tainted her approach to the matter, which influenced her decision of a 200 percent penalty on additional tax.

Osman disagreed, saying she did not know of Mpisane's conviction when she began her audit.

Bhana asked Osman why she had done Vat audits on draft financial statements on Mpisane's company in 2008.

She said it was not her mandate to follow up on a taxpayer and ask for financial statements.

Bhana said the draft financial statements were not signed off, because it was possible there could be changes to the final financials.

The trial continues.