As published on timeslive.co.za, Wednesday 7 July, 2021
The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) in the US and the SA Revenue Service (Sars) have joined forces to fight tax and economic crimes affecting both countries.
Sars said the two agencies were working together to identify, investigate and bring to justice criminals with a nexus to both countries.
Crimes under investigation include international public corruption, cyber fraud and money laundering.
Sars said the newly formed partnership had already uncovered emerging schemes perpetrated by promoters, professional enablers and financial institutions.
IRS-CI director of global operations Guy Ficc said the global fight against financial crimes cannot be fought alone by one country.
“Our partnership with the SA Revenue Service will soon reveal operational results made possible by our strong alliance and collaborative efforts.
“Taxpayers and tax professionals using offshore and other sophisticated schemes to evade US and SA laws will be uncovered and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” he said.
Sars welcomed the collaboration with the IRS, particularly with its renewed focus on non-compliant high wealth individuals and offshore holdings, said Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter.
“One of our strategic objectives is to make it easy for taxpayers to comply with their tax obligations and hard and costly for those who wilfully do not comply.
“We trust this partnership will yield results, also in terms of augmenting our internal skill sets as we clamp down on illegal activities affecting both countries.”
A major component of the collaborative effort between the two countries includes an ongoing training initiative led by IRS-CI.
The US tax agency continuously shares financial investigative techniques, trains SA law enforcement officers and government officials and highlights adjudicated international case studies relevant to both countries, Sars said.
Earlier this month, IRS-CI delivered an offshore tax evasion training webinar to 40 Sars enforcement officers.
“The training illustrated a complex pyramid scheme highlighting egregious levels of greed, deceit and nefarious co-ordination efforts orchestrated by businesses. The training incorporated multiple areas of transnational financial crimes specific to offshore banking schemes, tax evasion and conspiracy,” said Sars.