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Warning: SARS' enforcement and customs teams are on full alert

by , 18 January 2013
You don't want to get on the wrong side of SARS. The penalties and fines for being dishonest about your earnings are far-reaching and could cripple your business. As an example of what to avoid, SARS has released an update on its operations to combat crimes such as smuggling, fraud and abuse of the tax system for the month of December 2012.


The report shows the prevalence of tax and customs-related offences in South Africa, and illustrates the support SARS provides other law enforcement agencies.
 
Here's how SARS' own staff have just been sentenced for tax fraud

SARS assures us it'll continue to combat any form of corruption, fraud and abuse of the tax system. It reports four cases from December 2012. A fraud charge case was remanded until 25 February for sentencing, with the suspect out on bail of R30 000. A former SARS employee pleaded guilty to submitting fraudulent tax returns. Another former SARS employee was sentenced for corruption due to extorting a fee from a taxpayer for helping him resolve a problem.
 
Bring drugs into the country and SARS's customs teams will send you right to jail!

In the month of December 2012, the SARS customs teams prevented almost 26 kilos of cocaine valued at just over R7 million from entering the country in 14 different interventions. These included finding it hidden in plastic tubes inside luggage, in a false compartment in luggage, in abandoned 'body wraps' on board inbound flights after passengers had disembarked, concealed on a passenger's body, underneath their clothes, in 'body wraps', and five separate cases of internal concealment.
 
SARS' customs interventions also stopped 6984 'Viagra' tablets, valued at over R698 400 coming through the ports of entry.
 
SARS prevented parcels addressed to addresses in the USA and UK containing 'cashiers cheques' valued at almost R12 million from leaving the country. These were handed over to the SA Reserve Bank for further investigation.
 
Compressed dagga, valued at R1.5 million, was also stopped from being shipped from Johannesburg to London and two South African visas concealed in documents being couriered to Nairobi, Kenya were handed to Immigration officials for further investigation.
 
SARS also seized 30 Zimbabwean passports concealed in the spare tyre of a bus entering South Africa at the Beit Bridge border post. These were handed over to Home Affairs for further investigation.

For tips on staying on SARS' good side, you can't afford to miss out on our Practical Tax Loose Leaf. It's packed with tips on paying less tax legally – do it the right way and stay out of jail!

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