Picture: Ziphozonke Lushaba, Independent Media

JOHANNESBURG - The SA Revenue Service paid R18.5 billion in refunds to 2.22 million taxpayers at the close of the 2016/17 tax season for non-provisional taxpayers on Friday, Sars said. 

These refunds - a 26% increase on last year - applied to returns filed for the 2016/2017 tax year submitted during the tax season from July 1 to November 24, Sars said yesterday. 

“In total, R19.8bn in refunds has been paid to individuals for this financial year to date, inclusive of prior year returns, contributing to household incomes and the domestic economy; 93.63% of returns were processed within 24 hours. 

During the 2017 tax season, Sars prevented R2.7bn in fraudulent claims in the personal income tax environment, saving the fiscus a potential revenue loss. 

This was a R900 million (50%) improvement from last year, when R1.8bn in fraudulent claims was prevented during the same period (tax season),” Sars said. 

It added that it had received 5.67 million returns, including returns filed for prior years, by Friday, November 24.