A SARS hold up?

The current issue of Integritax, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants' newsletter, has an article (1339) which asks, Will SARS hold up property transfers until the tax affairs of seller and purchaser are in order?

The question follows the release of the new transfer duty declarations in June, in which conveyancers, property developers, private sellers, private buyers and other interested parties were alarmed at the prospect of potentially suffering substantial losses because of delays.

The author of this article throws some light on the concerns by asking "what does it mean for one's tax affairs 'to be in order'? That all due tax returns have been timeously lodged? (Many taxpayers' returns are years in arrears - are they now to be barred from buying or selling property until all overdue returns are lodged?) Does it mean that all outstanding tax has been paid - bearing in mind that tax must be paid even if an objection has been lodged to an assessment?"

He continues by saying that "It comes as a relief to find that the new transfer duty declarations, currently on the SARS website, do not reveal any requirement for the seller or purchaser to declare that their respective tax affairs 'are in order', so the consternation triggered by the press reports seems to be misplaced, or at least premature."

What the new declarations do show is that both seller and purchaser now have to disclose, inter alia, details of their identity, and their income tax and VAT reference numbers. If anything, it is an attempt by SARS to enforce tax compliance, thereby forcing unregistered tax payers to come clean about their incomes if they ever want to buy or sell fixed property.

Integritax website

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