VAT Case Law: Director of Public Prosecutions vs. Parker
Parker, a certain taxpayer, was the sole member of 'Step-in-Time Supermarket CC'. His CC was registered for, and charged, customers VAT. But he never filed the VAT returns. Nor did he pay the VAT over to SARS.
When SARS found out, they said Parker didn't submit VAT returns as required in line with VAT law (Section 28(1)(a) of the VAT Act).
Not only did SARS say Parker contravened the VAT Act, SARS also filed criminal charges of theft against him for the money he collected on SARS' behalf, but didn't pay over. There were 30 counts of charges under the VAT Act, and 16 counts under common law theft!
Read on to find out how Parker fared against the Director of Public Prosecutions and SARS.
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SARS files criminal charges against Parker – what were the facts of the case?
SARS argued that once Parker collected the VAT, the money belonged to the State. But since Parker didn't pay it over, he'd stolen it!
The Magistrate's Court sentenced Parker and his CC to a fine of R13 000. He was also sentenced to 5 years in jail. Although the fine was small, the offence is serious!
Not looking forward to 5 years in a cold, damp Western Cape jail, Parker appealed to the Western Cape High Court.
Here's what the Court found…
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Parker appeals his 5-year jail sentence
The Court found in favour of Parker. It said it couldn't find Parker guilty of theft.
This displeased SARS and the Director of Public Prosecutions, so they appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
This Court found that although Parker was guilty of offences under the VAT Act, he wasn't guilty of the common law offence of theft. It set aside his conviction and sentence, so Parker won the appeal on the conviction. But he still had to pay the fine.
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