CR’s promised “listening government” certainly true at Kieswetter’s SARS

Among the Ramaphosa Administration’s ambitions, its leader told us in Davos two years ago, is to be a “listening government”. Those who’ve attended high level Covid-19 meetings say that’s certainly been the case during the pandemic. From what came out in the post-Budget media conference yesterday, it’s also embedded at SARS.

Three months ago we published a fascinating interview with Washington-based Global Financial Integrity, an NGO which uncovered an $8.7trn trade gap by tracking trade numbers reported on both sides of the deal. There are many dishonest reasons why crooks manipulate reported prices of imports or exports. Mostly to evade tax.

GFI’s number crunching revealed roughly 20% of the SA trade numbers are fiddled. SARS Commissioner Ed Kieswetter was listening and has clearly acted. Because in yesterday’s presser, he referred to “deliberate mispricing” of imports, specifying local traders with Chinese and Indian counterparties have been thus “defrauding” the fiscus.

With a R341bn Covid-19 hole from the pandemic, SARS must close every possible loophole. Misreported trade is one of the biggest alongside multinationals using transfer pricing, profit shifting and base erosion. Kieswetter said these are among the focus areas of SARS’s re-instituted Large Business Unit. Cheating super rich and high net worth individuals are also in his crosshairs. Here’s the clip – worth a listen:

*If you’d like to learn about the business transforming personal data privacy act POPI, which starts next month, be sure to register for today’s Noontime Thursday webinar. Open to all. Here’s the link:

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Comment from Biznews community member John H M Carter:

And I have often bought ‘cheap’ stuff from Chinese owned shops. Mostly the new wave.

I have yet to receive a till slip!

I am told that most [in many smaller towns] are financed directly from China but [almost] never pay VAT etc.