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Sars comes under fire for plan to smoke out illicit cigarettes


Sars comes under fire for plan to smoke out illicit cigarettes

It’s estimated tax evasion by manufacturers costs SA R5bn annually, a loss the taxman is trying to combat

Senior reporter

The SA Revenue Service (Sars) is preparing for war against tobacco companies and industry bodies, a fight determined to control a planned system to track and trace illicit cigarettes.

Sars has come under fire for pushing for a system that fights illicit tobacco manufacturing, initially temporarily withdrawing a tender for “further consideration” after apparent pressure from manufacturers. The tender, which was to close on August 30, will now close on October 31.

Tobacco economists estimate tax evasion by manufacturers costs the country R5bn annually. To combat this loss, Sars is looking at the best practices with regards to track-and-trace systems in Africa and Europe. Among the systems are those used by the Kenyan Revenue Authority (KRA)...

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