Sars sets whopping tax target
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Pretoria - A target of R1-trillion has been set for tax collection season 2015/16, and mechanisms are in place to achieve this, South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane has said.
Launching the tax season on Wednesday he said Sars staff had been ready to work on meeting this target since April.
“Today heralds the beginning of a journey to achieve this target, and it depends on the readiness of the people, the conditions on the ground and the configuration of our offices to deal with tax collection,” he said.
Moyane, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and a delegation from their offices took a walkabout at the Sars offices in Pretoria and spoke to staff and the public, filing their taxes on Wednesday morning.
“It is encouraging to notice that despite electronic filing options, people still prefer to come to file here,” the minister said, adding that it said a lot about their personal experience of the service.
Nene and Moyane said people needed to be encouraged to file as early as possible and not wait until the very last minute to submit their tax returns. “Someone filed just after midnight, and by this morning they had been informed about their refund,” Nene said.
More than 17 000 people had already filed by 8am, and 29 000 by 10am, he said.
Sars had made a lot of changes to improve the experience of people coming in to submit their tax returns and were seeing a return on its investment, said Moyane.
“Taxpayers want to be here for a few minutes, deal with what they need to and leave, so our systems work such that they are assisted as quickly as possible,” he said.
Some restraints included incomplete documentation and the threat of identity theft.
Said Nene: “We need to upgrade the system to include checking the biometric identity of people.”
Among the documents needed are an ID, the IRP5 certificate, details of medical expenses and a medical aid certificate as proof of deductions made for the scheme.
Documents relating to income received or deductions one might need to claim are also required.
Some people came in without original documents or carried uncertified copies and then had to be turned away.
Moyane explained the policy was to try not to turn people away. “The decision then lies with the manager on the floor to ensure they are dealing with the right person,” he said.
“We need to put mechanisms in place to verify a person’s identity, so that everyone who comes in here is served and assisted.”
The minister and commissioner emphasised the importance of honouring one’s obligation to pay taxes and assist the fiscus, saying failure would result in charges. Charges range from R250 a month to R16 000, depending on who the taxpayer is.
Moyane warned people not to fall for scams via text or emails. “Do not be hoodwinked into sending your banking details to these people, Sars does not deal like that,” he said.
People would be informed of their returns in the same manner in which they filed, he said.
Deadlines to file are September 30 for those submitting by post or dropping them off in Sars drop box; November 27 for non-provisional taxpayers and January 29 for provisional taxpayers, who have also been given until January 31 to submit through efiling.