Johannesburg – The SA Revenue Service (Sars) has acquired new powers to gather intelligence on taxpayers and collect revenue, it was reported on Tuesday.
People and companies, such as lawyers, estate agents and medical aid funds, now had a duty to automatically submit information about their clients to Sars, The Times reported.
The powers were reportedly gazetted last month and followed provisions of last year’s Tax Administration Act, which allows certain high-ranking Sars officials to authorise searches without warrants.
“Ask anyone in the industry and they will tell you Sars is much more aggressive,” SA Institute of Professional Accountants national tax committee chairperson Ettiene Retief told the newspaper.
One of the biggest changes in the new Tax Administration Act was the broadening of the scope of the information Sars could request, he said.
Sars spokesperson Adrian Lackay reportedly confirmed the new regulations.
“Sars can request any information from a bank account of a taxpayer as part of its third-party data verification,” he told The Times.
It was increasingly using intelligence gathered through more than half a decade of e-filing “to aggressively patch the holes in the tax net,” SA Institute of Tax Practitioners CEO Stiaan Klue told the newspaper.