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WCape taxi owners to become taxpayers
About 7 000 Western Cape taxi operators are expected to start paying tax, says the Western Cape Taxi Council.

About 7 000 Western Cape taxi operators - about 64 percent of the industry in the province - are expected to start paying tax after applying for tax amnesty, says the Western Cape Taxi Council.

The umbrella body regards this as a significant step towards the formalisation of the industry.

Small businesses including the taxi industry have until the end of June to admit to previous tax violations and register as taxpayers under the tax amnesty offered by the SA Revenue Service.

Last week Finance Minister Trevor Manuel extended the deadline by a month to June 30 after some organisations, including accountants and taxi owners, said they had missed the original cut-off of May 31.

The chairperson of the Western Cape Taxi Council, Junaid Peters, said out of about 11 000 taxi operators in the province 7 000 had registered under the amnesty in the past few months.

Peters, who described the willingness of operators as "impressive", said a "substantial" number of operators were already on the Sars database as taxpayers.

"In the past two months we've been doing road shows going around the province encouraging operators to register. The response had been phenomenal. This is an indication that taxi operators are serious about the formalisation of the industry," he said

The president of the SA National Taxi Council, Jabulani Mthembu, said about 19 000 operators had registered across the country.

The minibus taxi industry has often been characterised by violence, with rival taxi associations at loggerheads over lucrative routes and permits.

"It will put the industry into the mainstream of the country's economy. In the past operators were, in a way, losing out.

"They could not participate in government tender processes, get subsidies or claim their expenses because they were not tax compliant. But now things will change for the better," he said.

    • This article was originally published on page 6 of Cape Argus on June 18, 2007
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