Award-winning musician and media personality Sbusiso Arthur Leope has been slapped with a whopping R15-million tax bill by the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
Celebgossip has learnt that SARS obtained a default judgment against the former Metro FM DJ, popularly known as DJ Sbu, at the Joburg High Court last week after he failed to pay the money.
According to court papers, which we have seen, Leope owed the taxman just under R5-million for personal income tax but the amount ballooned to over R14-million after more than R4.4-million additional tax and R4.7-million interest were added to the debt.
It appears that this is the second default judgment SARS has obtained against Leope, who coowns one of South Africa’s iconic record label TS Records with businessman-turned-politician Thembinkosi “TK” Nciza.
According to the papers, SARS obtained the first default judgment against Leope, the founder of popular energy drink Mo Faya, in 2018 after he failed to settle over R2.2-million in tax.
When the taxman applied for a default judgment against him, it pleaded with the court to withdraw the previous one and replace it with the one with the higher amount.
“In terms of the Tax Administration Act, the South African Revenue Service hereby withdraws the certified statement filed in respect of the above taxpayer. Kindly endorse both copies of this notice, amend the court record accordingly and return one copy as confirmation of the withdrawal to the address above,” reads the letter dated October 19.
Attempts to solicit a comment from Leope drew a blank as he ignored phone calls and failed to respond to the text message sent to him.
Leope’s tax woes come a few months after music duo Major League DJZ were hit with a R9-million tax bill, while Gang of Instrumental lead singer Tumi Masemola received a R1.4-million tax bill.
Other celebrities who found themselves on the wrong side of the law for not being tax compliant include Bonang Matheba, rapper Kiernan “AKA” Forbes, Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune and his boss Bobby Motaung, and actor Rapulana Seiphemo, among others.
Aubrey Moeng, the CEO of TTP Consulting, said SARS had been a thorn to many South Africans and musicians in particular, because of their inability to manage their tax affairs.
He said artists should submit their returns on time and if they were indebted to SARS, they had an option to object or appeal the tax outcome of the amount in question. “If they agree on the amount, they can request payment arrangement if they don’t have funds or apply for tax compromise. By doing this, they could avoid unnecessary penalties and judgments from SARS.”
Thabile Dlamini of Motolo Dlamini Financial and Assurance Services, advised artists to deduct provisional tax amounts from royalties-collecting societies or music promoters; sponsorships or endorsements and invest them.
“This is important so that they could use some of those savings
to pay their tax bills when the tax season arrives,” she said.
She also said SARS should consider working with tax practitioners and music industry stakeholders to conduct tax workshops to educate artists or people in the creative industry about tax compliance.
“When everybody is tax compliant, there would be no need for SARS to obtain a judgment against them or even attach their assets,” added Dlamini.
Leope did not respond to several attempts for comment.