Undeclared foreign accounts: Time is running out

Earlier this year the names of 100,000 HSBC account holders were leaked to the media. This became a scandal as HSBC had conspired with its customers to shield them from tax obligations. South African individuals and companies were amongst the names revealed. Clearly, SARS has access to this information. In addition, SARS has been exchanging information with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and has compiled lists of South African taxpayers with investments in OECD countries – these names are being matched to its South African tax database. The USA, Canada and eighteen Western European countries make up the OECD. On August 13th, it will begin issuing audit notification letters to taxpayers who it suspects have been evading their tax liabilities. Affected taxpayers have, per a SARS media release*, until August 12th to enter into the voluntary disclosure program (VDP) to avoid potential criminal prosecution and penalties. Taxpayers who enter the VDP will be required to make a comprehensive and accurate statement of any undisclosed off-shore investments. Ask your accountant for advice in any doubt. *Note that SAICA (the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants) has advised SARS that in its view the SARS media release does not constitute a notice of audit/investigation or awareness by a taxpayer of such audit /investigation. © DotNews, 2005-2015. This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice.

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