PRETORIA – The South African Revenue Service on Monday warned taxpayers to be wary of people posing as tax practitioners or experts and promising to help them secure refunds from the agency.
“Businesses and other organisations must also beware of third parties such as unknown payroll companies who offer to assist them with their PAYE [Pay-As-You-Earn] submissions,” SARS said in a statement.
It said it was inundated with desperate calls from honest taxpayers who had fallen victim to these criminals and scammers who pocketed the refunds for themselves and their accomplices as they often operated as syndicates.
In some cases, these fraudulent submissions were the cause of delays experienced by law-abiding taxpayers in getting their refunds, because SARS had to verify the information.
“Taxpayers who willingly participate in such fraudulent activity in expectation of an illegal refund will be prosecuted along with the scammers,” the revenue service warned, urging honest citizens to report such criminal activity.
Last month, Mpumalanga businesswoman Busisiwe Nkosi and her husband Simangaliso Khoza appeared at the Nelspruit magistrates’ court charged with numerous crimes, including fraud, theft and money laundering.
Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations spokeswoman in the province Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi said the couple was arrested for alleged tax evasion.
She said an investigation by the directorate, known as the Hawks, revealed that in April 2017, Nkosi fraudulently submitted false tax returns to SARS, resulting in the revenue authority losing approximately R2.2 million (US$144,219)
After she received the money, in a futile attempt to cover her tracks, she reportedly transferred the money into her personal bank account and into the bank account of her husband.