Exchange control circular issued in respect of special voluntary disclosure programme

On 13 July 2016 the Financial Surveillance Department (FinSurv) of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) issued exchange control circular no. 6/2016 (Circular) regarding details and information required in an application for exchange control relief submitted as part of the joint tax and exchange control Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (SVDP) which was announced by the Minister of Finance in the 2016 Budget Speech.

The SVDP will run for a period of six months from 1 October 2016 to 31 March 2017 (SVDP Period). The SVDP will afford South African residents (individuals, sole proprietorships, partnerships, deceased estates, insolvent estates, South African trusts, close corporations and companies) and former residents the opportunity to disclose their foreign assets held in contravention of the Exchange Control Regulations, 1961 (Regulations) so as to regularise their affairs from an exchange control perspective.

According to the Circular, applications for exchange control relief under the SVDP must be made pursuant to the provisions of Regulation 24. Applications and the relevant supporting documents must be submitted electronically to the SVDP unit via the South African Revenue Service’s (SARS) eFiling system, alternatively at any SARS branch. The Circular states that separate electronic application forms for the tax and exchange control relief have been created. The SVDP unit will be jointly operated by FinSurv and SARS.

The Circular has warned that any party involved in a matter currently under investigation by FinSurv may not apply for exchange control relief under the SVDP. Further, no applications for exchange control relief under the SVDP may be made prior to the official commencement date of the SVDP, namely 1 October 2016.

Applications may be made in a personal or representative capacity, however, any application made in a representative capacity will require proof of authority. The relevant proof must be submitted with the SVDP application.


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