A differentiated approach was adopted in the tabled 2020 Tax Administration Laws Amendment Bill where, rather than do away with intent entirely, offences are categorized into those for which intent or negligence is required and those for which intent is required.
National treasury and the South African Revenue Service highlighted this during a recent briefing to the select committee on finance on the 2020 Tax Bills.
Following public consultation on the bill, treasury pointed out that, as it is not the intention to introduce strict liability, explicit references to negligence were inserted to remove any doubt in this regard.
In terms of offences for which intent or negligence is required the category “includes aspects of non-compliance that strike at key duties that the tax system’s broad application depends on, such as failing to register, submit returns, pay over tax that has been collected from a third party and so on”.
Offences for which intent is required include “aspects of non-compliance where the nature of the non-compliance is such that the requirement of intent is implied, such as issuing a false document, obstructing or hindering a SARS official, assisting another person to dissipate their assets to impede tax collection and so on”.
Other issues highlighted in the briefing include the introduction of export taxes on scrap metal; addressing an anomaly in the tax exemption of employer provided bursaries – tax exemption to fall away if bursary or scholarship subject to an element of salary sacrifice; withdrawing from retirement funds upon emigration; clarifying rollover relief for unbundling transactions; raising of assessments based on an estimate – limitation on disputes will no longer apply if no adequate response is received but rather if no response to a request for relevant material is received and grace period to determine if a payment in excess of an assessment was erroneous – period shortened to 30 days.
The select committee held public hearings on the 2020 Tax Bills this week.
Meanwhile, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) announced that the Long-term Repurchase Operations (LTRO) will be removed until further notice.
According to the SARB, the three-month LTRO have been offered at a rate of repo plus 30 basis points in varying amounts.
However, from Wednesday, 9 December 2020, the SARB will no longer conduct LTRO.