Kingon talks tough on illicit trade, revenue collection

Acting SARS Commissioner Mark Kingon has encouraged South Africans to join hands in fighting illicit trade and to be cooperative in paying their taxes for the benefit of the economy.

Kingon was speaking at the Tax Indaba, in Sandton on Monday. During his address, Kingon affirmed SARS’s position in tackling illicit trade in clothing and textiles, tobacco and fuel.

“We are going to deal with this one by one, and we are going to get on top of this.

“We are not going to stop until we take this scourge out of our economy - that people think they can just avoid paying their rightful dues,” he said.

Illicit trade in the clothing and textile industry alone has caused damage to the SA economy, impacting people’s lives, he lamented. “Let’s join hands to stop this nonsense.”

Kingon told Parliament in May that SARS is in the process of reestablishing the investigative unit dealing with illicit trade. The specialised unit focusing on illicit tobacco trade was disbanded by suspended SARS commissioner Tom Moyane in 2014.

Kingon also spoke to the role of SARS in collecting tax revenue to meet the country’s development priorities. He explained that the benefit of taxpayers being compliant with their obligations is essential for economic growth.

“It reduces the need to borrow or accept foreign aid to meet development priorities.” Kingon stressed that SA should maintain the independence of its development agenda. “We do not want to depend on foreign loans.”

According to Kingon, SA is dealing with an exorbitant amount of debt that needs to be paid. When people do not pay VAT, or income tax, it limits the returns to SARS which are essential for economic development.

“Join hands with us- let’s do this together,” he said.

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