SARS Voluntary Disclosure Programme now permanent

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has made provision for the Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP) to be permanently available to qualifying taxpayers.

Making the announcement, SARS said the VDP will be available to individual, company or trusts that seek to voluntarily disclose and regularise their tax affairs.

The revenue collector said this step was aligned to its strategic objective, which seeks to provide clarity and certainty as well as make it easy and seamless for taxpayers and traders to comply with their obligations.

“SARS would like to encourage all taxpayers who may be in default on their tax affairs, to approach SARS via the VDP. By coming forward willingly, such taxpayers will receive the help and advice from SARS to expedite the resolution of their request.

“Where through its own investigative processes SARS discovers non-compliance, it will not avail this opportunity to non-compliant taxpayers but will act within the remit of the law to deal with non-compliance,” SARS said in a statement on Wednesday.

SARS said it was firmly committed to the pursuit of strategic intent, which is to promote voluntary compliance whilst lowering the cost of compliance.

“To this end, we want all taxpayers to understand that they always have an opportunity to regularise their tax affairs. While voluntary compliance is our first preference, SARS is refining its capability to detect and make it hard and costly for non-compliant taxpayers,” read the statement.

The revenue collector said taxpayers who have tax defaults with SARS and would like to be granted relief from penalties, and avoid possible criminal prosecution can voluntarily disclose their outstanding tax affairs.

Tax defaults, range from outstanding returns, submitting inaccurate or incomplete information or the failure to submit information to SARS requested in relation to any tax type that SARS administers, excluding duties and levies charged in terms of the Customs and Excise Act, 91 of 1964.

The Voluntary Disclosure Programme is a unique opportunity for defaulting taxpayers to regularise their tax affairs. SARS encouraged concerned taxpayers to make use of this legal instrument.

A defaulting taxpayer will be granted relief under the programme if the application meets the following requirements:

  • The disclosure must be voluntary;
  • The disclosure is full and complete in all material respects;
  • The disclosure involves a default which has not occurred within five years of the disclosure of a similar default;
  • The disclosure involves a behaviour referred to in the understatement penalty table in Section 223 of the Tax Administration Act;
  • The disclosure would not result in a refund due by SARS; and
  • The disclosure is made in the prescribed form and manner.


Prospective applicants can apply for VDP via SARS eFiling.

Successful VDP applications will culminate in an agreement that will cover amongst others:

  • The material facts of the defaults disclosed;
  • The amount payable by the taxpayer including the understatement penalty separately reflected;
  • The relief granted by SARS under the Tax VDP;
  • Payment arrangements and dates in respect of tax payable; and
  • The fact that the relief may be withdrawn if SARS subsequently determines that the disclosure did not constitute a valid and complete disclosure under the Tax VDP.



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