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All Tax payments due by March 29

Tax payers have less than three weeks left to pay outstanding debt by Friday, March 29, to avoid paying penalties and interest, says the South African Revenue Service (Sars), and outstanding returns need to be submitted immediately. 

Sars warns there will be high traffic on the networks and taxpayers are urged to make payments before midday on March 29 to avoid possible network delays, particularly for value-added tax submissions and payments, excise duty payments, provisional tax payments, and any payment arrangements reached with Sars. 

If in doubt about how much you owe, how to make payment, what to do if you can’t pay the full amount immediately, or if you want to make payment arrangements or don’t agree with the amount owing, contact Sars immediately on 0800007277.

Number of taxpayer complaints against Sars on rise

The office of the Tax Ombud has seen a drastic increase in the number of complaints raised by individuals and representatives from taxpayers.

The complaints increased 62 percent from 2133 to 3454, placing considerable pressure on the complaints resolution process at the Tax Ombud Office, as the number of staff members dealing with the complaints did not increase.

Tax Ombud Bernard Ngoepe said during the launch of his office’s annual report for 2016/17 the complaints centred around dispute resolution, delayed refunds and the incorrect allocation of payments by the SA Revenue Service (Sars). 

The report highlighted almost 20 issues raised by taxpayers or their representatives which are considered either “serious” or “systemic”.

One issue that was raised by taxpayers related to Sars raising assessments to offset tax credits without a valid reason. The Tax Ombud’s mandate has been widened to allow for investigations into systemic problems. The first report has dealt with the issue of delayed payment of refunds and the financial hardship it continues to cause taxpayers.

Many of the issues raised in the annual report were addressed in the first report by the Ombud on the systemic problem of delayed payment of refunds. Mark Kingon, the head of relationship management at Sars, said during a panel discussion on the report at Unisa that they had started implementing steps to adhere to the recommendations by the Ombud.

A systemic problem raised by the Ombud related to instances where Sars incorrectly raised assessments when there was a credit amount due to the taxpayer. However, the correct process was not followed. “We have terminated these steps,” Kingon said.

The revenue office has also taken steps in terms of VAT, and have committed to making system changes to income tax. Sars has also been accused of not following the time lines set out in the Tax Administration Act. Kingon referred to instances where the payment of refunds had been stopped because of valid reason, but the “stoppers” had not been lifted timeously when taxpayers had complied with all the requirements to get their refund.

PERSONAL FINANCE