SARS Appoints Eskom Director to Head Wealthy Tax Unit

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Former Eskom executive Natasha Singh has been appointed to head the South African Revenue Service (SARS) Wealthy Taxpayers Unit, which the tax agency created to take a closer look at the country’s wealthiest .

Singh, a chartered accountant with twenty years of experience, will join SARS as the first director of its High Net Worth Individuals unit. She left Eskom, where she was a financial executive: group insurance and taxation.

She holds a master’s degree specializing in taxation.

In a statement released Monday, SARS called his appointment “of strategic importance.”

“His appointment is most timely as it coincides with a number of recent reports affecting this important segment of taxpayers, including the recently released Pandora Papers,” he said.

SARS – which has faced years of shortages and vowed to crack down on tax evaders – created its High Net Worth Individual unit with the aim of generating more income from wealthy taxpayers. However, the tax agency appeared to have taken a cautious approach, describing the unit as a unit providing personalized service, similar to a private banking relationship, rather than a move to target the wealthy.

The unit, which has seen its capacity expand since its creation, assigns a dedicated relationship manager to oversee the profile of each wealthy person in its sights.

SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said the tax agency recognized possible “challenges” in collecting income from the high net worth segment. “We recognize the contribution of revenues from this segment, in its various forms, to the Republic of South Africa. We also recognize the likely challenges that may or currently exist with respect to tax matters and the tax obligations of individuals and their families.

“Wealthy people tend to organize their financial affairs in complex on- and off-shore structures, often obscuring their direct beneficial ownership and real income,” he said.

About 4,000 of South Africa’s super-rich have left the country in the past decade, including 500 in 2019, Fin24 previously reported.


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