Fines and jail time for tax mistakes

SARS Commissioner, Edward Kieswetter spoke with eNCA's Jane Dutton. Courtesy of #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - Small tax errors can now land you with a fine, or even worse, in jail due to new legislation which has a list of minor offences you need to avoid.

These include failure to alert SARS of changes in your personal details or failing to keep records from previous tax years.

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SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter explains how the process works.

"Many commentators, with some degree of sensationalisation as well, are projecting a scenario where the state will have free for all against taxpayers," Kieswetter said.

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"The state must still prove 'blameworthiness' beyond a reasonable doubt. No taxpayer will be compromised, in terms of their rights, in law," he said.

"The two principles of blameworthiness are negligence and intent. Where a person is affirmed not to have acted in the way a reasonable person ought to and the second principle is the principle of intent.

"It is an offence, in law, to not fulfill the tax obligations. How far the state then seeks to go is a matter that has to be proven blamed on blameworthiness. The burden of proof will be on the state."


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