Specialist warns small businesses

Isaac Moledi

Isaac Moledi

The deadline for the tax amnesty for small businesses issued by the South African Revenue Service (Sars) about a year ago is next Thursday and, if you have not come clean with the receiver, you might face prosecution.

A fiduciary specialist at BoE Private Clients says he expects Sars to come down hard on small business after the close of the tax amnesty on May 31.

Eligible businesses and individuals should apply quickly or face the strong possibility of being prosecuted, warns David Knott.

"We believe the enforcement unit of the Sars is eagerly awaiting the close of the amnesty period.

"They have identified several obvious businesses that have remained outside the tax net and they are keen to make an example of them," says Knott.

Those businesses failing to take advantage of the amnesty, or that do apply but fail to disclose fully, will be liable for all taxes, levies and duties.

They can expect to face penalties as well going back as far as Sars may care, he cautions.

Criminal prosecution could also result from keeping quiet, adds Knott.

According to him, Sars has so far received more than 16000 amnesty applications.

"We would encourage other small businesses that might have been economic with their tax affairs to take advantage of the generous relief offered by Sars," cautions Knott, advising individuals concerned to consult with their tax advisors.

All forms of tax are covered by the amnesty - income tax, VAT, PAYE, Skills Development Levy, UIF contributions, and secondary tax on companies.

Knott says not everyone is eligible to apply.

"The amnesty does not apply to purely salaried persons. One must be running a business."

Neither does it apply to any tax or penalty that has already been assessed or paid to Sars, or becomes payable as a result of any return already submitted.

The relief will not be granted if the business is already the subject of an investigation, audit or other enforcement action by Sars.