The 1996 Constitution and the Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011 : balancing efficient and effective tax administration with taxpayers' rights
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Taxation is fundamental for development in South Africa (SA), a developing country with an emerging economy in which taxation is essential to capacitate the government so that it can fulfil its mandate under the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Constitution). This mandate includes bringing about socio-economic transformation, part of transformative constitutionalism, through progressively realising socio-economic rights. This dissertation examines the way in which tax administration may take place efficiently and effectively with due respect for taxpayers' rights. A clear link is shown between taxation, human rights and the South African government's responsibilities to attain its transformation targets. To facilitate this process, the Constitution creates a legal framework for the imposition of tax and for the equitable distribution of tax revenue among the three spheres of government. For historical, political and other reasons, South Africans generally, as happens elsewhere in the world, lack a strong culture of voluntary tax compliance. Wilful non-payment of tax is antithetical to the values of democracy, ubuntu and the rule of law. Tax non-compliance minimises revenue collected from taxation. This, in turn, hinders the attainment of transformation in all its facets. A pressing need exists for laws that, on the one hand, promote tax morality and, on the other, strengthen the South African Revenue Service (SARS) so that it can effectively administer SA's national tax system (or grid). To this end, the Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011 (TAA) is pivotal. It regulates tax administration, a part of public administration. Under the Constitution, SARS is obliged to execute its functions in a manner respectful of taxpayers' rights and that upholds the Constitution’s values and democratic principles. Consequently, the TAA must strike a fair balance between, on the one hand, protecting taxpayers' rights and, on the other, arming SARS with adequate powers with which it can effectively combat the mischief of tax non-compliance. This dissertation shows that, when viewed through the prism of s 36 of the Bill of Rights (BOR), the powers conferred on SARS by ss 45(1), (2), 63(1) and (4) of the TAA to conduct warrantless inspections and searches, as the case may be, limit taxpayers' rights to, inter alia, privacy. It concludes that, whilst ss 63(1) and (4) ought to pass muster, ss 45(1) and (2) are susceptible to a declaration of invalidity under s 172(1) of the Constitution.
- Doctor Legum - LLD 
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