Sars warned vendors to submit outstanding VAT returns within the prescribed period or face penalties and criminal prosecution. Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams

Cape Town - The SA Revenue Service (Sars) on Friday warned vendors to submit outstanding value-added tax (VAT) returns within the prescribed period or face penalties and criminal prosecution.

"Failure to submit the returns within the relevant period could result in administrative penalties being imposed per outstanding return. It could also result in criminal prosecution which could lead to a fine or imprisonment," Sars said in a statement.

"All VAT vendors with outstanding returns, including those who failed to submit a due return for the first time, or did not submit a VAT201 return in time for the April/May 2018 VAT period, will receive SMS or eMail-reminders from SARS from today [Friday] to submit their outstanding returns."

The revenue service also urged vendors to submit accurate returns as Sars "may conduct an audit".

"It is important to note that should any return result in a tax debt, the debt must be paid before the relevant due date to avoid any interest for late payment and legal action," Sars said.

"SARS will ensure that refunds are paid, unless there is a legal reason to withhold a refund."

African News Agency (ANA)