South African Revenue Service (Sars) Commissioner Edward Kieswetter briefed Parliament’s finance standing committee on Wednesday and noted that the energy crisis may have cost the country R150 billion.
Kieswetter said: “We estimated our energy supply risk over 2022/23 to be about R60 billion, but it could easily have been as high as R150 billion. We see that again this year, unquantifiable, but material. If we could recover the revenue lost from load shedding this year, we would be in surplus, not lagging as we are year-to-date.”
The taxman did note that the revenue service could report a 7% increase in gross revenue collection for 2022/23.
This translated to more than R2 trillion for 2022/23, according to the Citizen.
289 days of load shedding
The country has been experiencing load shedding since 2007, and according to the Outlier, the country had 289 days of load shedding in 2023 thus far.
When compared to 2022, the country had 205 days of load shedding.
Kieswetter told parliament that it was simple, load shedding impacts productivity and that destroys economic growth in a company or business and that eats into profits and this trickles down into the Sars collecting corporate tax.
CRIME AND ITS IMPACT
The Sars head also detailed the impact crime has had on the revenue collection in SA.
In September, he noted that government and the economy loses billions in tax revenue due to criminal syndicates that avoid tax.
“We are aligned with the Davis tax committee, which says the value at risk from syndicated crime is easily between R200 billion and R300 billion a year,” Kieswetter noted.
At the standing committee yesterday, he said that Sars has seen the a “proliferation of crime”.
“Organised crime is the big issue for us. We see that in Eskom, at Transnet, across the clothing industry, and tobacco industry. We see syndicate crime being a proliferation and I would be disingenuous if I told you we are on top of it”.
He called for more stringent systems to be placed. These systems would stop the defrauding of customers seeking refunds, as criminals were taking advantage of the same systems that gave the entity an edge in processing refunds.
Kieswetter said the organisation had been able to control R61 billion in refunds, which could have been lost had systems not been tighter.
“We are struggling, it is complex, it is resource-intensive and we need to step up our investment in this regard, otherwise the criminals will always be better organised than us,” Kieswetter added.