The South African Revenue Services has welcomed a two-year sentence the Bloemfontein Regional Court has handed to a tax practitioner charged with 24 non-compliance offences.
In a statement, the revenue collector said the suspect, Ritondeni Luvhengo, had tried to dodge his first court appearance but was later arrested. The sentence is suspended
Luvhungeo, who was arrested in September after failing to appear before court in July, faced 48 VAT offences. He also faced 24 charges for failing to disclose relevant material facts on the VAT 201 returns submitted to the SARS.
“The non-compliance offences were committed while Tax Practitioner Ritondeni Luvhengo was in charge of the tax affairs of a construction company,” SARS said in a statement.
The suspect was found to have submitted 24 nil VAT 201 returns to SARS without the consent of the client in order to obtain a Tax Clearance Certificate.
As a result, the accused was also charged with 24 counts for acting without the client’s consent and authority.
In the statement, SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said the revenue collector would not tolerate non-compliance by taxpayers and tax practitioners.
“In fact we hold practitioners to a higher standard, as important intermediaries in our quest towards voluntary compliance.
“Non-compliance not only reduces the revenue that SARS is able to collect, but further erodes the culture of compliance. The reduced revenue collection means that basic services to the poor and vulnerable cannot be delivered, especially at a time of great need when COVID-19 still wreaks havoc on the economy,” he said.
“SARS continues to make it easy for taxpayers and practitioners to comply with their tax obligations and will continue to make it difficult and costly for those who wilfully do not comply.”
He added that tax practitioners held the trust of taxpayers when acting on their behalf and that this trust should never be broken. While the majority of tax practitioners act ethically and in the best interests of their clients, there are those practitioners who serve their own selfish ends.
The Commissioner said taxpayers should be extremely careful about whom they appoint as tax practitioners and should check the registration status of a practitioner on the SARS website www.sars.gov.za.