The South African Revenue Service (Sars) said there was an increase in voluntary compliance in this year’s tax season.

Sars Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said the revenue service had faced several problems this year, including Covid-19 restrictions, load shedding and internal limitations.

But its voluntary compliance promotional programme has paid off, according to statistics and trends from this filing season.

Here’s the story behind the numbers

  • Over 4.3 million citizens filed non-provisional tax returns, which is a 46% increase from last year.
  • Over 2.6 million were submitted via eFiling, up 7%
  • 523,659 returns were submitted via the MobiApp, up 59%
  • Over 306,000 returns were submitted at branches, down 15%

Taxpayers also used virtual appointments, booked via SMS to submit returns.

Auto-assessments are the future

Over three million taxpayers received an auto-assessment or their taxes. More than 2.2 million taxpayers accepted the auto-assessment, of which more than 1.5 million accepted without changes.

“This represents a 74% acceptance rate of a new service offering,” said Kieswetter.

But the tax collector is turning their sights to more than 630,000 taxpayers who neither accepted nor edited their returns.

“We undertook to provide at least eight out of every 10 taxpayers with an assessment outcome in under five seconds. This year 93% of assessments were issued in under five seconds. Last year it was 85%,” said Kieswetter.

“We also committed to paying at least seven out of every 10 taxpayers their refund if it is due, within 72 hours.”

86% of taxpayers received refunds within 72 hours, compares to last year’s 77.38%.

“In all, we paid out more than R17 billion in refunds. The average refund was R11,000,” said Kieswetter.

Sars promised that seven out of 10 verification audits would be completed within 21 days.

“We have missed this target of 70%, reaching only 67% of audits completed in this time frame.”

The tax collector will levy penalties from January 2022 where one or more returns are outstanding. Before the change in the legislation, Sars could only levy penalties where two or more returns were outstanding.




By Daniel

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