Tax Ombud’s Judge Bernard Ngoepe has warned the government that SA taxpayers will stop paying their taxes if it’s continuously misused.
Ngoepe stressed that the unethical conduct of those managing the funds from tax will only encourage SA taxpayers to avoid paying their taxes.
Judge Ngoepe was addressing the 6th Annual Conference of the Fiduciary Institute of Southern Africa.
He warned that the nation will soon have to forget about generating funds from SA taxpayers if those tasked to administrate the funds remain unethical.
“One of the problems we will have, will be that taxpayers will say – ‘I will not pay if my money is not going to be used properly. I will not pay if my money is going to be corrupted. I will not pay if my money is going to be used to finance institutions, which are going to abuse their power for political gains’.
… there would be a problem if people begin to think that state institutions behave without ethics, immoral, and…there is a view that state institutions are being used as political tools,” Ngoepe highlighted.
With the above, Ngoepe recalled that Julius Malema once alleged that SARS (South African Revenue Service) case against his was politically motivated.
Based on that, he said: “the issue is not whether he was right or not. The real question that arises out of statements such as that is, do we satisfy ourselves all the time in the way that we deal with things? (Do) we conduct ourselves properly in a fair manner and in a manner that is always informed by and based on good ethics?”
He pointed out that a good number of taxpayers don’t trust tax officials.
“…Sometimes they perceive them as being corrupt, malicious, and indeed vindictive and sometimes giving the impression that they are being used as political tools.
Very often these negative perceptions afflict the entire system,” Ngoepe added.
Thereafter, he asserted that corrupt use of public funds, or their improper use, lessens the feeling of guilt on the part of evasive taxpayers.
“…they give all these ills as an excuse for not paying. The more corrupt government, the less tax is collected,” argued the Judge.