Mark Lifman has lost another battle in his protracted fight to prevent SA Revenue Services from recovering outstanding taxes of R352 million. File picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Cape Town - Controversial businessman Mark Lifman has lost another battle in his protracted fight to prevent SA Revenue Services from carrying out warrants of execution against his moveable assets to recover outstanding taxes of R352 million.

On Tuesday, Judge Elizabeth Baartman dismissed his application to stay the execution process for outstanding VAT and tax returns. The judgment opens the door for Sars to execute April 2015 civil judgments and warrants of execution obtained against his assets.

In judgment, the judge said: “There is no indication that an injustice will result from a failure to suspend the execution. On the contrary, this application appears to be an abuse of the process. It follows that there are no exceptional circumstances justifying a stay of the execution proceedings.”

Sars launched an inquiry into Lifman’s returns in May 2014 and in November 2017 assessed his tax liability totalled  more than R13m. A further assessment was conducted on his different businesses which brought the amount to more than R352m.

In April 2015, Sars obtained civil judgments and a warrant of execution against his moveable assets but Lifman launched an urgent application, which was dismissed. Sars then resumed execution steps, which led to the second urgent application in which he sought to stay the execution process pending an application for leave to appeal, which was dismissed with punitive costs in November 2015.

In this application, Lifman alleged exceptional circumstances in that Sars had undertaken to conduct an internal review and reconsider the assessment. 

“It is common cause that the applicants did not avail themselves of any of the procedures provided for in the Tax Administration Act to dispute the assessment raised. It seems the initial dissatisfaction was about treatment received which the applicants have belatedly and opportunistically sought to raise an objection against the assessment,” Judge Baartman found.

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