The South African Revenue Service's (Sars) work will now be informed by data-driven insights, self-learning computers, artificial intelligence and interconnectivity of people and devices.
File picture: African News Agency/ANA archives
The South African Revenue Service's (Sars) work will now be informed by data-driven insights, self-learning computers, artificial intelligence and interconnectivity of people and devices. File picture: African News Agency/ANA archives

Sars takes steps towards building a modern revenue authority

By BR Correspondent Time of article published Feb 4, 2020

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DURBAN - The South African Revenue Service's (Sars) work will now be informed by data-driven insights, self-learning computers, artificial intelligence and the interconnectivity of people and devices.

Sars Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said, "We cannot ignore the power of a data and technology enabled organization, and the impact it will have on the future world of work. We can however prepare for it by consciously and actively managing the interplay between human effort and artificial intelligence. Today we take a conscious step towards building a smart modern SARS, with unquestionable integrity, that is trusted and admired". 

The Sars of the future must be able to respond to this new environment while fulfilling the organisation’s higher purpose of enabling government to build a capable state that will ensure the well being of all South Africans.

The Sars Commissioner has emphasised the need to boost the organisation’s technological capacity and deriving insights from data, for a 're-imagined Sars of the future'.

The Commissioner has also been on an extensive consultation campaign with staff which has redefined Sars’ strategic objectives.

Sars' strategic objectives include, amongst others, providing clarity and certainty of tax obligations, making it easier for taxpayers and traders to comply, detecting those who do not comply and making it hard and costly for them.  The organisation is also in the process of modernising its systems to provide digital and streamlined services and rebuild public trust and confidence in the tax and customs administration.

Sars has advertised strategic leadership positions to attract executives to fill the roles of Chief Data Scientist, Chief Technology Innovation Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Procurement Officer to list a few.

Sars is keen to grow and develop internal staff by recruiting some of these positions from within, but the Commissioner also want to use this opportunity   to enrich the current “gene pool” with future oriented skills and some fresh perspective. 

Kieswetter added "We cannot simply talk about the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is upon us, and we must redouble our efforts to future proof ourselves by building an intelligent organization that will provide a world-class service to compliant taxpayers, but equally detect those who are non-compliant and make it costly and hard for them".

"Our Vision 2024 is to build a smart modern Sars, with unquestionable integrity, trusted by government, the public and our international peers," concluded the Commissioner. 

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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