The application of accrual accounting principles is a challenge for public sectors internationally and increases the level of transparency and accountability of management. Taxation authorities are governed by legislation and have to be supported by a sound legislative framework to enable effective administration of taxes and the proper application of the accrual accounting principles. The recent issuing of the accounting standard for taxes and developments relating to the subsequent measurement of tax receivables highlights the ineffectiveness of current administrative tax legislation relating to penalties and interest which does not allow SARS to effectively apply accrual accounting principles. The receipt of taxpayer returns and payments as required by legislation are critical in order to allow the recording of taxes owed in the financial records of SARS. These taxpayer actions can only be effectively influenced by an effective penalty regime. Similarly, the current interest regimes on tax receivables and payables need to be adjusted in order to allow efficiencies and be comparative to market rates and calculation methods. International comparisons of penalty and interest regimes did not indicate a specific standard regime that should be applied, but the United Kingdom identified sound design principles for penalty and interest regimes. A simple standardised penalty and interest regime for all taxes administered by SARS is recommended which meets the identified design principles and supports the accrual accounting principles. The move to accrual accounting is an additional driver for administrative legislative reform which supports the effective management of taxation authorities. Copyright
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2010.