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SARS strikes a blow to help confront wealthy South Africans

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SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter has announced that Judge Dennis Davis will join the tax collector on a more permanent basis as he places more emphasis on wealthy South Africans.

During a press briefing this week, Kieswetter said Davis would help SARS implement its strategies, especially those aimed at closing the tax gap and the wealthy.

Davis recently chaired the Davis Tax Committee, which aimed to review South Africa’s tax policy framework and its role in supporting the goals of inclusive growth, jobs, development and fiscal sustainability.

Jean du Toit, head of tax engineering at Tax Consulting SA, said bringing in Davis is a coup for SARS which has been affected by a loss of skills in recent years.

“With the massive exodus of senior officials from SARS in recent times, the lack of skills transfer within the institution has become a problem,” du Toit said.

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“The commissioner himself noted in the press conference that they had a lot of recommendations on how to sort things out, but now they have someone on their team who can actually implement them.

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Du Toit said that the fact that Davis was chairman of the Davis Tax Committee (DTC) for the first five years would also make him invaluable.

“While Judge Davis will likely help implement a wide range of DTC recommendations, his attention will also be directed to the wealthy,” du Toit said.

“He spoke about wealthy taxpayers who underreport their income and strongly advocated for lifestyle audits. Based on his comments on the matter, he has already identified his first topics for investigation.

While SARS has been open about the measures it will use to prosecute wealthy taxpayers, there are still those who will question the ability and cunning of SARS to do so, he said.

“They may think they’re smarter than SARS, but are they smarter than Judge Dennis Davis?”

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“From the point of view of SARS, the stage is set and the pieces are moving. Taxpayers must respond to the Commissioner’s call to come and speak amicably to them under the Voluntary Disclosure Program, before they speak to you.

Frenzied hiring

In late March, SARS announced it was launching a major recruitment drive, targeting highly skilled workers to help create a data-driven ‘smart tax authority’ – which experts say is the first salvo to fight high net worth taxpayers who might avoid their tax obligations.

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The revenue department said it was looking to hire 370 highly skilled specialists, as well as 200 finance graduates to build its capacity – but with a particular focus on technology.

“SARS is preparing for a future where our work will increasingly be informed by data-driven information, self-learning computers, artificial intelligence and the interconnectivity of people and devices,” he said. he declares.

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“Recognizing this, we are evolving our workforce to prepare for this exciting, changed and changing world of work. While continuing to develop our own employees, we invite talented and passionate executives, who share our strong public service ethic and undeniable commitment to improving the material conditions and well-being of all South Africans.

The group said it was specifically looking for specialist skills in the following areas:

  • IT specialists, including developers, database administrators, security and software engineers, SAP specialists, and integration designers;
  • Data management specialists, including data analysts and data scientists;
  • Audit and risk specialists;
  • Investigative specialists, in particular criminal investigators and forensic auditors;
  • Research analysts;
  • Social scientists;
  • Project managers;
  • Legal specialists; and
  • Regulatory and risk specialists.

The revenue department directed potential candidates to their recruitment page apply.

Read: SARS targets South Africans who have ‘unexplained’ wealth


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