080310 The new offices of SARS at corner Rissik street and Albert street. Picture: Ziphozonke Lushaba

Johannesburg - South Africa has far fewer taxpayers than the SA Revenue Service (Sars) professes there to be, trade union Solidarity said on Sunday.

“According to Sars there are 13.7 million taxpayers in the 2012/13 tax year,” Solidarity Research Institute (SRI) senior economics researcher Paul Joubert said in a statement.

“Actually only 3.3m taxpayers pay 99 percent of all income tax, while only 2.3m pay 93 percent and 1.5m are responsible for 84

percent of income tax,” he said.

Joubert said there was a much larger imbalance between the number of people paying tax and the total population than was implied by Sars.

He said it was important to bear in mind that the people who paid income tax were also, to a large extent, responsible for paying other types of tax such as VAT, company tax, import tariffs and fuel levies.

Although 10.3m people were registered for income tax in the 2011/12 tax year, only around 4.8m were required to submit tax returns.

Joubert said 0.2m could immediately be subtracted from the 4.8m because they had no taxable income.

“Moreover, there were around 1.3m people who contributed only one percent of the total amount of income tax for the year.”

An approximate 3.3m taxpayers then remained, who were responsible for paying approximately 99 percent of all income tax, he said.

The contribution to income tax of the next million taxpayers was only 5.9 percent.

“When this group of a million people is removed from the total, only 2.3m taxpayers remain, who were responsible for paying approximately 93 percent of all income tax.

“When this group of 2.3m taxpayers is reduced one last time, by excluding those who earned R150 000 to R200 000, only 1.5m taxpayers, responsible for paying around 84 percent of all income tax, remain,” Joubert said. - Sapa