However, at a press conference in Pretoria on Monday, the service said this was only R300 000 above its revised estimate, as announced in the February 22 Budget.
Last February, National Treasury had anticipated total tax revenue of R1.175 billion, which was revised down in October during the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement and again to R1.144 now. “This is the largest tax revenue shortfall relative to budgeted estimates since 2009/10,” National Treasury said in February.
The amount of tax collected fell short in three main areas and personal income tax, value-added tax (VAT) and customs duties are down by an estimated R15.2 billion, R11.3 billion and R6.5 billion respectively relative to the 2016 Budget estimate.
This, National Treasury said, was a result of lower wage increases and bonuses, slow job creation and higher than expected VAT refunds.
Corporate income tax collection was expected to exceed 2016 Budget estimates.
On Monday, SARS said it had collected, in gross terms, R1.367 trillion. This means that the preliminary outcome for the 2016/17 financial year, net of refunds of R222.4 billion, is R1.144 trillion.
It noted, for the 2016/17 financial year, net revenue grew by 7 percent, which contrasted with a growth in refunds of 9.5 percent year on year.
However, the results will be subject to detailed financial reconciliation which, in the past, was of the order of about R150 million, which it describes as “an insignificant 0.01 percent potential adjustment to the final outcome either way”.
SARS says its “extra-ordinary achievement” during tough times, with the economy having grown a mere 0.3 percent last year, was “made possible by the mobilisation of the entire SARS resource base.
This, it says, resulted in monthly revenue growing by above 15 percent in March. “This lifted overall growth, dragged down by very poor performances of Import taxes and Corporate Income Tax from small and medium companies in February, from 6 percent to the required 7 percent by the end of March 2017.”
Revenue performance of 2016/17 was characterised by key shifts in the revenue portfolio, SARS says.
Personal Income Tax, for long being the mainstay of revenue, declined from levels exceeding 12 percent to below 9 percent. This was precipitated by lower than usual wage settlements, subdued bonus payments as well as job shedding, it says.
Import taxes were adversely stunted by declining import levels of goods that attracted Value Added Tax (VAT) and Duties.
Import VAT declined by 1.3 percent and Customs Duties by 1.2 percent. Dividends Tax more than doubled in March 2017 as many companies forestalled rate changes announced in the February 2017 Budget, yielding a surplus of R4.4 billion against the March 2017 estimate for this tax.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE