The Nugent Commission of inquiry which is probing tax administration and governance issues at Sars. Picture: Brenda Masilela/ANA

Pretoria - The delays in paying tax refunds were in the top three reported complaints in the South African Revenue Services (Sars), the Nugent Commission of Inquiry heard on Friday.

CEO in the office of the Tax Ombudsman Eric Mkhawane said that around 2016, there was a high number of complaints from tax-payers with their tax refunds being withheld
 
"People complained that refunds were being withheld for no good reason." 

Mkhawane explained how a taxpayer would be using the same bank account through the entire year, but when the taxpayer wants the refund, Sars would ask for bank account verification. 

He said even after the cumbersome verification process, there would be up to a three-month delay, he said the verification was a process adopted to eliminate fraud.

Mkhawane provided an example of a taxpayer who paid his return, but funds were also deducted from his business account to an amount of  R1.1million. 

He said the taxpayer gave him the runaround and frustrated at every turn for a refund, eventually, the business was deregistered. 

The second leg of the commission kick started on Tuesday, several witnesses have testified how a consulting firm Bain and Co. played a role in the decimation of the revenue service under now suspended commissioner Tom Moyane.

Witnesses fingered an inefficient new operating model designed by Bain and Co as the reason why the revenue service crumbled and departments which were crucial to the operational functions of Sars were left fragmented.

President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed retired judge Robert Nugent in June to chair the commission to probe allegations of financial misconduct and governance at Sars during Moyane’s four-year reign.

The hearing would resume on Tuesday. 

African News Agency (ANA)