LAW SOCIETY RULING ON TAX ISSUES
ATTORNEYS MAY BE STRUCK FROM ROLL IN FUTURE FOR VAT OFFENCES
Members should note that the Law Society has reversed its previous decision on the question of whether an attorneys failure to pay tax constitutes unprofessional conduct. Following the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal in Estate Agency Affairs Board vs McLaggan and another 2005(4) 531 SCA, Council has notified its members that when it comes to the specific issue of VAT, "it sometimes happens that an attorney collects VAT from clients but then fails to pay the money collected to SARS."
In future, when supplied with such information the Law Society may bring an application to Court to remove the name of the attorney from the roll. The SCA ruled these offences were intrinsically dishonest and dishonesty is regarded not only unprofessionally, but may also be guilty of theft under false pretences.