Sars auto-assessment system looks to move 3m taxpayers to online filing
JOHANNESBURG - The South African Revenue Service (Sars) has introduced an auto-assessment system in a bid to move more than 3 million taxpayers from physical filing at its branches to online filing.
Sars Commissioner Edward Kieswetter yesterday said the system will work through the revenue services’ enhanced MobiApp or e-Filing platform and would remove the burden of compliance.
Sars is under pressure to shore up its systems as it has projected a R304.1 billion shortfall in tax revenue as the tax base will temporarily shrink due to businesses closures and job losses amid Covid-19 pandemic..
Kieswetter said Sars had stepped up its investment to increase and expand the use of data and increasingly make use of machine based learning algorithms and artificial intelligence, to improve the integrity of outcomes.
This would allow Sars to complete a tax return through data collected from third-parties such as medical aids, insurers, financial institutions, retirement funds, and also information from the population register, companies register, national vehicle register and other asset registers.
Kieswetter said the continuous enhancement of Sars digital, on-line offerings remained an important plank on which it relied to improve its service to honest taxpayers as well as identifying and acting against tax fraud.
“Just during lockdown Sars has added more than 30 additional applications that allows taxpayers to fulfill almost all of their obligations on-line,” Kieswetter said.
“We did this to remove the need for taxpayers to come to a Sars office. During this time of Covid-19 it supports social distancing, but beyond the pandemic, provides legacy infrastructure towards the modernization of Sars.”
Kieswetter also announced that the Sars had pushed to the end of January 2021 the final date for provisional taxpayers to fulfill all their outstanding filing obligations electronically.
For the period of August, auto-assessment SMS’s notices will be sent out to about 3.1m individual taxpayers who may choose to accept the assessment outcome on the MobiApp or e-filing platform.
Between September and 16 November, taxpayers who require assistance may call for assistance to Sars contact centres for completing their tax returns with the assistance of an agent.
The closing date for taxpayers who file online using MobiApp or e-filing will be 16 November.
The closing date for taxpayers who elect to file at a Sars office will be 22 October.