(IRS) SARS makes big move on Bitcoin and crypto assets in South Africa


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[SARS is South Africa's IRS. So they are now diving into people's crypto holdings. Jan]

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has joined close to 50 other jurisdictions around the world in pledging to adopt a new Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework (CARF) developed by the OECD and work to put it into law.

“To keep pace with the rapid development and growth of the crypto-asset market and to ensure that recent gains in global tax transparency will not be gradually eroded, we welcome the new international standard on automatic exchange of information between tax authorities developed by the OECD,” it said.

“The widespread, consistent and timely implementation of the CARF will further improve our ability to ensure tax compliance and clamp down on tax evasion, which reduces public revenues and increases the burden on those who pay their taxes.”

SARS said that, as a jurisdiction that plays host to an active crypto market, it intends to work towards swiftly transposing the CARF into domestic law and activating exchange agreements in time for exchanges to commence by 2027 (subject to national legislative procedures).

“In order to ensure consistency and a smooth implementation for both business and governments, those of us that are signatory jurisdictions to the Common Reporting Standard will also implement, in line with the above timeline and subject to national legislative procedures as applicable, amendments to this standard as agreed by the OECD earlier this year,” it said.

The CARF is a new international standard on automatic exchange of information between tax authorities.

According to the OECD, the emergence of crypto assets is a major development in the tax space, specifically because these assets can be transferred and held without interacting with traditional financial intermediaries and without any central administrator having full visibility on either the transactions carried out, or the location of crypto asset holdings.

“These developments have reduced tax administrations’ visibility on tax-relevant activities carried out within the sector, increasing the difficulty of verifying whether associated tax liabilities are appropriately reported and assessed, which poses a significant risk that recent gains in global tax transparency will be gradually eroded,” it said.

To this end, the CARF was developed to serve as a dedicated global tax transparency framework which provides for the automatic exchange of tax information on transactions in arypto assets in a standardised manner with the jurisdictions of residence of taxpayers on an annual basis.

Broadly, the CARF consists of rules and commentary that can be transposed into domestic law to collect information from Reporting Crypto-Asset Service Providers with a relevant nexus to the jurisdiction
implementing the CARF.

These rules and commentary have been designed around four key building blocks:

The scope of Crypto-Assets to be covered;
The Entities and individuals subject to data collection and reporting requirements;
The transactions subject to reporting, as well as the information to be reported in respect of such transactions; and
The due diligence procedures to identify Crypto-Asset Users and Controlling Persons and to determine the relevant tax jurisdictions for reporting and exchange purposes.
With South Africa having committed to adopting the framework and transposing it into domestic law, the revenue service is now expected to tighten its grip on the market, and ensure that it collects its dues from those who trade in these assets.

Source: https://businesstech.co.za/news/finance/730551/sars-makes-big-move-on-bitcoin-and-crypto-assets-in-south-africa/

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