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Gordhan has legislative powers to demand information from SARS boss Moyane

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has legislative powers to demand the information he requires from South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane.

This emerged from a briefing by Treasury deputy director general Ismail Momoniat to members of Parliament’s finance committee ahead of public hearings on the 2017/18 budget on Wednesday.

Gordhan has complained in the past about the lack of accountability by SARS and about not being informed by Moyane about important developments within the tax authority.

More recently there have been concerns over whether SARS has withheld VAT refunds in order to boost its tax revenue collection.

The relationship between the minister and the commissioner has deteriorated to an all time low and the minister might have to make use of the legislative powers at his disposal to ensure that he is kept informed about what is going on in SARS.

Momoniat noted that in terms of Section 107 of the Income Tax Act and Section 74 of the VAT Act‚ the minister of finance “is entitled to make regulations prescribing amongst other things the information that he needs to obtain from the commissioner to ensure smooth tax administration and optimal revenue collection of personal income tax‚ corporate income tax‚ capital gains tax‚ withholding taxes as well as VAT respectively.”

Momoniat noted that both legal provisions explicitly pointed out that the minister of finance can make regulations in relation to information that the minister deems necessary to obtain from the commissioner in order to ensure transparency and reporting on tax collection.