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Don't confuse a search and seizure warrant from SARS with curatorship of assets!

by , 10 May 2013
Taxpayers with a less-than-spotless tax history with SARS are worried by news that The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has granted SARS an application for two curators to take control of murdered strip club owner Lolly Jackson's estate and preserve the assets. Why the worry? Well, changes to the Tax Amendment Act means SARS officials can now show up unannounced at your premises with a search and seizure warrant. But this doesn't mean they can just walk in and take all your assets...

 
SARS has asked for curators to be appointed to do inventory of more than 35 companies and entities associated with the deceased Lolly Jackson, says News24.
 
The reason?
 
SARS wants to preserve assets in the companies as well as Jackson's estate in order to foot an outstanding tax bill of about R100 million.
 
Wondering why SARS is taking control of Lolly Jackson's assets? It's to settle his hefty tax bill!
 
This means the SARS officials were allowed to take control of the assets in order to pay off the taxes Jackson owed when he died, says News24.
 
Because if you die and leave any capital assets to someone, your deceased estate has to pay capital gains tax on the positive difference between the base cost of the assets and the market value of the assets on the date of your death, says Practical Tax Loose Leaf.
 
But if you have owe SARS a large amount, don't worry that the Tax Amendment Act means SARS can simply enter your premises and take all your assets with a search and seizure warrant.
 
Here's what SARS officials are entitled to seize if they show up with a search and seizure warrant…
 
A search and seizure warrant only gives SARS officials the right to seize physical documentation or information they think they can use in their information gathering process, or storage devices that SARS thinks may contain information or documentation they require to investigate the matter.
 
This includes your computers, hard drives or any computer-related device that's used – not your actual assets, unless it's something in particular that proves their suspicions, says The Practical Tax Loose Leaf.
 
To take control of all your assets requires a lot more work from SARS' side in order to gain curatorship rights, and SARS officials certainly won't just show up at your door unannounced to do so, you'll have more warning than that as this involves a court case.
 
There you have it!

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