Access to the Special Voluntary Disclosure Program (SVDP) closed at the end of August 2017 and the government netted a little over R1 billion. There were two thousand applications for this amnesty. Whilst this is not the final amount as SDVP applications are still being processed, there is little doubt that National Treasury was expecting to generate more income. The Davis Tax Committee for example proposed this amnesty and expected the Fiscus would collect up to R10 billion.
Tax experts have put the disappointing results down to the complexity of the application form (detailed documentation was required by SARS and the Reserve Bank) and the fact that if clients opted not to go for the SDVP, their accountants were obliged to inform the authorities. It would also appear that talk of a tax revolt may be gathering momentum, which meant that individuals seemed to weigh up their options.
The SDVP was tabled as the final opportunity for taxpayers to regularise their affairs in terms of undisclosed off-shore assets and income. From September 2017 the automatic exchange of information between revenue authorities from over seventy countries began and is expected to expose non-compliance on an unprecedented global scale. Further “Panama Papers” style leaks are also reportedly occurring and no doubt SARS will keep a close eye on them.