File Returns or else….

Having received SARS’ current press release declaring non-submission of tax returns a crime, I realised it is quite possible to live an innocent life without stealing from anyone but find oneself at the wrong end of the law. SARS declares that the courts would declare one guilty by omission if they fail to file their tax returns. Unlike Spain, the United States and other nations; South Africa has never had any high-profile cases of non-compliance with local tax laws.

When we think of tax crimes globally, high profile names in sports and the entertainment world come to mind. Like Wesley Snipes, who failed to submit tax returns from 1999 to 2001. This resulted in the fiscus being deprived of US$7m in taxes, resulting in a three-year jail sentence. Other high profile individuals who were convicted for failure to file tax returns are Jeffrey Atkins (famously known as Ja Rule), Joseph Cartagena (Fat Joe), Dolce & Gabanna (exonerated in 2013) e.t.c resulting in huge fines and prison sentences.

In SARS recent press release they explicitly declare the criminality of failing to submit tax returns and that they have engaged the National Prosecuting Authority in order to facilitate the prosecution of would-be offenders. This could be an individual who fails to submit their returns may end in prison or being fined; resulting in a criminal record. This would affect several professionals whose occupations require that they should not have criminal records. SARS also fired warning shots at prominent South Africans who have not filed their tax returns. It is clear that they are not too far from the reach of the long arm of the law.

These far-reaching measures were necessitated by an increase in non-submission of tax returns. At the end of March 2018, SARS’ Outstanding Returns Book showed that 30 million returns were outstanding from active taxpayers. SARS did emphasize that criminal prosecution will be applied as a last resort; after all other measures to ensure compliance have been exhausted. All the individuals who will appear in court have been engaged beforehand and had been issued with final demands. A good example of the conviction of Mr S. Ragunat in Port Shepstone. As a representative of SPS Distributors, he paid an R5,600 fine for the non-submission of 50 tax returns for VAT, PAYE and Corporate Tax. He has since complied.

Going forward, it is prudent to ensure all tax returns are filed on time and to work towards filing any outstanding returns to avoid prosecution. It appears SARS phone calls on outstanding returns and final demand notices can no longer be taken lightly. The grey-area has always been for those below the income tax thresholds and companies registered for PAYE but currently, do not have employees. For the former, it is advisable that you file tax returns regardless of your income to avoid SARS penalties as what happened last year. It will be difficult 3 or 4 years later to prove to SARS that you were below the tax threshold as the documents may no longer be accessible. If the company is registered for PAYE and currently has no employees, it is advisable to continue filing nil returns until the position changes for the company. As for those who chose to bury their heads in the sand and complicit taxpayers, well the whip has been cracked and you may find oneself behind bars.

By |2018-05-10T15:05:41+02:00May 10th, 2018|Legal|0 Comments

How to make your clients happy.

Happy customerIt is crucial for every business owner to realize the importance of nurturing relationships with clients. Not only do these people provide the revenue coming into the business but there also is a great feeling that comes with contributing to the success and happiness of your clients.

Part of growing a successful business is caring for your customers. Realize that we are in times where an unhappy client can share their opinion with the masses through social media and that can negatively affect your business. That’s why it’s even more important than ever to create an excellent experience for your customers to help develop your company’s relationship with them into love.

So, how would you know whether your clients are happy or not? Well, you would not know unless they or someone lets you know, right? You need to interact with them and review their feedback very often.

Below are 3 tips on how to make your clients happy.

1. Always listen to your clients.

When you have a conversation with your clients, it’s important to truly listen and take into account what changes your business should make from the feedback you will be getting, and then follow through.

2. Respect your clients and their views.

It’s very important to be respectful of a customer’s mood when trying to resolve an issue they have with your company. Keeping your patience is key to giving your customer the time to air out their issue. Don’t come on too strong even if they are wrong.

3. Talk to your clients genuinely

Don’t act as a nameless or faceless business; genuinely talk with your clients as a person representing the business. Address your customers by name, and tell them your name at the very beginning of your interaction.

Remember that a happy client normally tells 4 to 6 people about your company and its customer service. So, making your clients happy is another way to significantly influence the word of mouth about your business.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:09+02:00March 23rd, 2016|Marketing|0 Comments

5 ways to make customers eat out of your hand: Part 2

Good Service makes the difference Chalk IllustrationLast week we went through part one of the customer service skills that every employee or business owner  must master. This is a five part series that we are going to be sharing with you over the next few Fridays. Here are this week’s  5 excellent customer service skills that will make your customers stay loyal to you:

1. Become an expert.

Learn everything about each product or service you provide. Spend time studying the product as well as the various solutions you are offering for various circumstances.

2. Have a good body language.

Maintaining a good body language is important even when when you are talking with your clients over the phone. Smiling frequently and expressing happiness and laughter in your conversations helps to improve the customers’ experience.

3. Be confident.

If you sound confident in your conversations over the phone, then convincing your customers for any kind of deal or solution will become easier.

4. Handle surprises very well.

Being adaptable within a customer service environment is essential in order to fully prepare for any kind of surprises you may encounter while on the job.

5. Is the customer happy with the offered solution?

Double check with your customer to ensure that they are completely satisfied. This will improve your reputation with the client.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:16+02:00December 4th, 2015|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

5 ways to make customers eat out of your hand: Part 1

imagesCustomer satisfaction is very important in any kind of business. The success of your business depends not only on your hard work, but on the satisfaction the customers. Their satisfaction is the best indicator of how likely they are gonna be loyal to you and will make a purchase in the future.

Hang around with us as we share with you a five-part-series on skills you must have in order to have an excellent customer service. Having all these skills will surely make your customers eat out of the palm of your hand.

1. Be a good listener
Listen intently. Ask questions and summarize the answer of your customer. This will surely show that you care and want to offer the right solution.

2.Have great communication skills
Learn how to effectively communicate with your clients. Know when to listen, when to speak and how to speak. I will make the communication process much simpler any time you talk with a customer.

3. Be calm and patient
Try to manage your emotions and stay calm. This will help to deal with disgruntled and confused customers. When you are calm your customer will feel more respected.

4. Keep your promises
Develop the ability to manage expectations of customer complaints. Stay up-to-date with company policies to ensure that any promise you make for a customer can be delivered.

5. Be honest
Being honest and transparent with your customers proves that you truly care about their happiness and satisfaction.

Develop this skills to excel in any customer service position, regardless of your responsibility, your industry or type of customer you are working with every day.

We will be sharing more on this topic for the next few Fridays, so stay tuned as we continue to learn together.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:16+02:00November 27th, 2015|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments