Sars’ letters of demand stun 80-year-old woman
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Johannesburg - An 80-year-old Ekurhuleni grandmother is now living in fear of losing her home because she allegedly owes the South African Revenue Service (Sars) money that she suspects stems from more than two decades ago when she was still employed.
Jabulile Ngcobo said her nightmare started in September when she received a letter of demand from Sars stating that her account was in arrears with an amount of R11222.01. Ngcobo said while she still wonders what could have happened or hoping that perhaps it was just an error, another letter arrived later in the month threatening her with a warrant of execution.
“I don’t know where Sars expects me to get this money from as I am surviving on a government pension.
“Now they want to take my property I have worked so hard for over the years. What must I do? This has affected my frail health. Yesterday my daughter took me to the clinic because this thing is stressing me too much,” said Ngcobo who stays in Thokoza, Ekurhuleni.
Part of the final demand letter dated 29 September reads: “According to the records of … Sars you have failed to pay your tax debt for one or more tax year(s) and /or tax period(s). Overdue amount: R11 222.01 latest account statement balance … Failure to make full payment … Sars may appoint any third party who presently or in the future will owe you money or hold money for you to settle your tax debt with this money (or) a civil judgement being entered against you in which case a warrant of execution may be issued for the Sheriff of the Court to attach and sell your assets.”
Gogo MaNgcobo, as her neighbours affectionately call her, said she retired in 1996 and she had never had any issues with the taxman over the years until recently.
“I have never had issues with Sars. Please speak to them. Tell them I am willing to pay R200 per month from my monthly pension money,” said a desperate Ngcobo.
She said it was tough for her to walk, so it was not easy for her to go to the Sars offices. Ngcobo added that her two daughters and grandchildren were unemployed and so they too couldn’t help.
When asked how Sars can assist Ngcobo and other pensioners who are not able to settle their arrears and are now living in fear of losing their assets, Sars spokesperson Anton Fisher referred us to their website.
According to the Sars debt management section on the website, “If you are not currently able to pay your tax debt, please contact Sars without delay. In certain circumstances, we can reach an agreement with you to defer your tax debt for later payment or for payment by instalments.”
Pressed further and asked why it took Sars more than 20 years after Ngcobo retired to follow up on these arrears, Fisher said: “As you may know Sars is a creation of law which means we have to act within the relevant legal provisions at all times.
“As such, Chapter 6 of the Tax Administration Act prohibits Sars from divulging confidential taxpayer information.”