The Finance Minister has committed to appointing the Ombud this year and the DA will monitor the situation to ensure that he or she acts independently of SARS.
If there are signs that this is not happening we will table amendments to increase their independence by cutting funding and operational ties with SARS.
We also note public concerns around the relevant safeguards protecting against the new “search without warrant” clause. During the Parliamentary process several amendments were made to the bill to protect legal privilege during seizure and to ensure that damages arising from search and seizure can be claimed.
In addition, a provision was inserted to ensure that a Tax Ombud’s Report must be tabled in Parliament. The DA will undertake a watching brief to look out for any patterns of abuse.
“The DA is broadly in support of the bill: our call for the inclusion of an independent Tax Ombudsman have been heard and the Act provides much needed simplification of the tax code” said Tim Harris the DA’s shadow minister of Finance.
“We will not, however, allow SARS to misuse the new powers they have been given by this law”.