The R3.3bn includes agreements to pay SARS following information contained in the Panama Papers. Picture: TYRONE ARTHUR
The R3.3bn includes agreements to pay SARS following information contained in the Panama Papers. Picture: TYRONE ARTHUR

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has collected more than R3.3bn in tax liabilities through its special voluntary disclosure programme.

The tax authority announced on Thursday that noncompliant taxpayers with unauthorised foreign assets and income had to date entered into agreements with SARS to the value of more than R3.3bn in tax liabilities.

A total of 195 high net worth individuals applied to regularise their tax affairs.

No figure was provided of the total amount of undeclared wealth on which the R3.3bn in tax liability was paid.

While Judge Dennis Davis of the Davis tax committee expected a lot more tax income to be derived from the programme, PwC tax policy leader Kyle Mandy said that the amount collected was broadly in line with expectations.

The 2003 tax amnesty raised R2.9bn in tax liabilities, with R48bn of the R69bn of the wealth that was declared having been held offshore illegally.

SARS said in a statement that in terms of the agreements reached with the taxpayers who had applied under the special voluntary disclosure programme, payments of more than R2.7bn had already been paid to SARS. Another R580m was expected to be paid by the end of March.

The R3.3bn includes agreements to pay SARS following information contained in the Panama Papers.

More than 759 high net worth individuals have made use of the normal voluntary disclosure programme since 2012 when it started.

The special programme was announced in the budget speech in 2016 by the finance minister to give noncompliant taxpayers the opportunity to disclose unauthorised offshore assets and income. These taxpayers had a limited window period — from October 1 2016 to August 31 2017 — to disclose voluntary tax and exchange control defaults.

SARS said that those taxpayers who missed the special voluntary disclosure programme could still make use of the normal programme to regularise their tax affairs.

ensorl@businesslive.co.za