The purpose of this media statement is to provide an update on the progress made by SARS on work done on foreign bank accounts held by South African residents and to provide such residents an opportunity until 12 August 2015, to approach SARS via its Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP) to regularise their tax affairs.
During February 2015, various media articles referred to the release of information pertaining to South African residents who are or were HSBC accountholders. As stated by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) at the time, early indications were that some accountholders may have utilised their accounts to evade their local and/or international tax obligations based on the information SARS had received.
SARS has completed the initial phase of matching information obtained through international exchange of information procedures with the SARS taxpayer database. This matching confirms that some accountholders may have used their accounts to evade South African tax liabilities.
Account holders who want to make use of the VDP programme are encouraged to submit their applications to the VDP unit on or before 12 August 2015. In the meantime SARS will continue analysing the data available to it, enhancing its audit capacity and will be ready to commence issuing audit notification letters from 13 August 2015.