Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP)

The SARS permanent Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP) is administered under the Tax Administration Act, 2011 with effect from 1 October 2012. For the period 1 October 2016 until 31 August 2017 a Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (SVDP) gave non-compliant taxpayers an opportunity to regularise their unauthorised foreign assets and income by voluntary disclosing this information. Individuals and companies could apply during the window period from 1 October 2016 until 31 August 2017. The SVDP was meant for individuals and companies who did not in the past disclosed tax and exchange control defaults in relation to offshore assets. More information about SVDP on the SVDP page. Taxpayers who missed this deadline can still make use of the normal VDP process to disclose offshore income.

Applications can be submitted via eFiling or Branch offices. To assist you with your VDP queries, some questions and answers have been put together. For more detailed information, please consult the Guide at the bottom of the page.

Questions​ ​Answers
Why is there a VDP?​ ​The purpose of the VDP is to enhance voluntary compliance in the interest of good management of the tax system and the best use of SARS resources
​What does SARS want to achieve with the VDP? ​The VDP aims to encourage taxpayers to come forward on a voluntary basis to regularise their tax affairs with SARS and avoid the imposition of understatement penalties and other administrative penalties
​Which of the tax types are included under the VDP? ​The VDP is applicable to all taxes administered by SARS (excluding Customs and Excise)
​Who may apply for VDP? ​Any individual or company who want to voluntary disclose their tax affairs to SARS, provided they qualify for the VDP
​Are there any requirements for a valid VDP application? ​Yes. In order for an application to be valid, the following requirements should be complied with:

  • The disclosure must be voluntary
  • It must involve a default which has not previously been disclosed by the applicant or representative of the applicant
  • It must be full and complete in all material aspects
  • It must involve the potential imposition of an understatement penalty in respect of the default
  • It must not result in a refund due by SARS
  • It must be made in the prescribed form and manner
​What happens if a VDP application is incomplete? ​An incomplete VDP application is discarded by the VDP unit without further notice to the applicant.

Examples of these are –

  • where the applicant does not reflect a description of the default
  • if the source code is absent
  • if the application relates to outstanding tax returns of which SARS is already aware  
​Where do I find an application form? ​The application form is called the Voluntary Disclosure Application Form (VDP01) and can only be accessed via the SARS eFiling system
​Do I need to be registered for eFiling to apply for VDP? ​Yes. It means that you first need to register on the eFiling system before you can apply for VDP.
​What happens if my application is approved? ​An agreement is concluded between SARS and the applicant that reflects the outcome of the application process
​Can I object and appeal against a VDP assessment? ​No. The VDP assessment gives effect to the VDP agreement, and typically includes the disclosed additional taxable income and, depending on how long ago the default occurred, interest and late payment penalties.
​Can I request a remission of interest and/or penalties raised in a VDP assessment? ​No. The interest and penalties form part of the VDP agreement as well as the VDP assessment, both of which are final and binding.
What’s the turnaround time for a successful VDP  application? Due to the high volumes of VDP and SVDP applications received towards the end of August 2017 in relation to offshore disclosures, the current average turnaround time per case is 201 working days for VDP cases and 137 working days for SVDP tax cases. Additional resources are being deployed to assist with the processing of cases, which is expected to reduce the turnaround time.
​What must I do if I have made an application for VDP? ​The following are important to note:

  • It is not necessary to request re-confirmation of VDP applications.  If the eFiling system recognised the application, then the application is on the VDP register and will be processed
  • The applicant will be contacted when the application is allocated to a VDP evaluator for processing.  Additional or outstanding supporting documentation can then be submitted
  • A VDP application can at any time be cancelled by sending an email to vdp@sars.gov.za
  • Corrected or amended tax returns that related to a VDP application can be submitted to SARS through normal channels at any time before the VDP application is processed. If the return is assessed by SARS before the VDP application is processed, understatement and non-compliance penalties that are eligible for VDP relief will be waived when the VDP application is processed and a VDP agreement concluded
  • No late submission penalties or interest are eligible for VDP relief; these must be paid on assessment
​Can a representative person apply for VDP on behalf of the taxpayer? ​Yes, a representative person can apply for VDP on behalf of the taxpayer.
​What are the requirements for a representative person to apply on behalf of the taxpayer? ​Both the taxpayer and the representative taxpayer must be registered on eFiling and the representative taxpayer must be linked to the tax types and profiles.
​What if the following message ‘An anonymous application must be submitted where the applicant is not registered for the tax type that the VDP Application is for’ is displayed when submitting a VDP application? ​This is an indication that either the taxpayer or the representative person is not registered for the tax type on eFiling and the tax type is not linked to the profiles.

Ensure that the taxpayer and the representative are linked on eFiling and the tax type is active on eFiling before submitting a VDP application via eFiling. If any issues, phone the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277.