Sars on Thursday welcomed the judgment of the SCA that ended the protracted dispute with Africa Cash & Carry, involving R1 billion tax evasion. Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN – The SA Revenue Service (Sars) on Thursday welcomed the judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) that ended the protracted dispute with Africa Cash & Carry, involving R1 billion tax evasion.

According to media reports, Africa Cash and Carry came under the spotlight in 2014 after being implicated in the alleged bribing of the Financial Services Board chief executive Dawood Seedat.

In a statement on Thursday Sars said some of the key legal principles that the SCA pronounced on, included the powers of the Tax Court to alter assessments in line with the Tax Administration Act, as opposed to the power to remit the assessment back to Sars and an interpretation of what the taxman’s onus was when it was required to prove that an estimated assessment was reasonable.

“The judgment of 21 November 2019 comes after an investigation by Sars into the use of sale suppression systems and the manual manipulation of books of account. The investigation revealed the under declaration of sales and the manipulation of stock figures and resulted in estimated income tax and VAT assessments, which were disputed by the taxpayer. The Tax Court altered the assessments and the taxpayer exercised its right of appeal to the SCA. 

“The SCA upheld the Tax Court order, which inter alia altered the assessments and confirmed Sars’s imposition of 200 percent additional tax. The SCA dismissed the taxpayer’s appeal and issued a cost order in favour of SARS,” reads the statement.

Sars said it was committed to combat intentional tax evasion and was concerned with the compliance levels within the Cash & Carry industry with a particular focus on “Ooplang” schemes involving “Ghost Exports”, non-recording of the sale of cell-phone airtime, manipulation of loan accounts, claiming fraudulent invoices for VAT and Income Tax purposes, utilisation of intermediary shell companies to create invoices and sales suppression systems.