High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division, Johannesburg | Wingate-Pearse v C:SARS & Others

  • the taxpayer disputed, inter alia, the correctness of additional estimated assessments issued by SARS.
  • the taxpayer's argument that the additional assessments ought to be set aside on the basis that he was investigated by the SARS' High Risk Investigation Unit ("HRIU") ("rogue unit") and that the operations of the HRIU infringed his constitutionally protected rights, considered.
  • the application of the Plascon-Evans rule in these motion proceedings and the effect thereof on the alleged operations of the HRIU, considered.
  • whether a declaratory order that the establishment by SARS of the HRIU was without statutory authority, unlawful, inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and invalid, would lead to the conclusion that all information gathered by the HRIU had been obtained illegally and therefore could not be used by an organ of state against a person, considered.
  • the roles of the High Court of South Africa and the Tax Court, established in terms of the Tax Administration Act, 2011, where matters involve administrative law and tax law aspects, considered.
  • whether the taxpayer's application to review and set aside SARS' decisions to issue the additional assessments on the basis that, as argued by the taxpayer, the jurisdictional requirement (ie, that the Commissioner be "satisfied" that the non-assessment was caused by the taxpayer's fraud, misrepresentation, or non-disclosure of material facts following the Constitutional Court's decisions in Walele and Bato Star Fishing) for the issuing of additional assessments had not been met and that the requirements of natural justice had not been satisfied prior to the issuing of the assessments, considered.
  • whether a declaratory order that, insofar as the taxpayer seeks the review of SARS' impugned actions and decisions under the principle of legality, the delay in the initiation of the review application was not unreasonable, or if such delay were found to be unreasonable, that condonation should be granted in the interests of justice, considered.
  • whether the court ought to have departed from the general rule that costs follow the suit or the rule that unsuccessful litigants who seek, in good faith, to vindicate constitutional rights ought not to have costs awarded against them, considered.
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