Beware tax advisers who guarantee refunds – Sars

The SA Revenue Service (Sars) has urged taxpayers to exercise caution against tax advisers who guarantee them a refund on their tax returns.

A promise of a refund on a tax return was highly misleading and should be avoided, Sars said today.

“[We] have seen an increase in fraud cases involving personal income tax returns where ‘tax consultants’…, [have] promised clients substantial tax refunds in return for a ‘cut’ of up to 50% of the refund,” spokesperson Marika Muller said in a statement.

The consultants would submit fraudulent tax returns on behalf of the taxpayer. Sars suspected syndicates were involved.

“On 5 September 2013 … 28 people [were arrested in Mpumalanga] who had submitted fraudulent income tax returns on behalf of at least 200 individuals, on the understanding that they would keep a percentage of the fraudulent refund generated,” Muller said.

Another case was that of Lusindiso Maxwel Mhlwatika, a tax practitioner who faced 290 counts of fraud and 145 counts of allegedly making fraudulent tax assessments for evasion.

“The monetary loss to the fiscus was approximately R1.5 million.”

Sars appealed to taxpayers to contact it for help submitting their tax returns as there were a number of options available.

The deadline to submit tax returns is November 22.

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