SARS misses collection target by R2b
26 August 2015
Posted by: Author: The Citizen
Author: The Citizen
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) missed its tax collection target for the first quarter of the year by more than R2 billion, commissioner Tom Monyane said on Tuesday.
Monyane told parliament’s portfolio committee on finance that SARS had a target of R244.9 billion, and had collected R242.9 billion — a shortfall of 0.9 percent.
"The first quarter target was R244.9 billion, what we achieved was R242.9 billion. There was a shortfall of R2.094 billion.”
Monyane commented that the discrepancy "could have been worse”.
He said had senior SARS officials not put in place measures to mitigate the situation, the shortfall would have been closer to R5 billion.
Speaking on the same day that Statistician General Pali Lehohla announced that the local economy had contracted by 1.3 percent in the second quarter, Monyane reminded MPs that revenue collection was related to how the economy was faring.
"But also we need to juxtapose this with the economic performance of our country,” he said.
SARS acting chief operations officer Jonas Makwakwa said one of the SARS initiatives that had somewhat offset lower than expected collection, was efforts in closing personal income tax (PIT) loopholes that would otherwise have seen it lose hundreds of millions more rands.
"We relooked and refined the risk rules on PIT as an example. Since the beginning of the financial year we have saved R873 million which actually could have been paid out as undue refunds,” he told MPs.
"We are looking at the VAT side as well, because there is leakages on the other side. We are not only focusing on collecting, we are also focusing on closing the gap where there is opportunities for fraud stuff to siphon funds from the state,” he added.
Makwakwa said traditionally, the taxman launched a revenue collection drive in the last quarter of the fiscal year, but SARS had taken a decision to focus on it throughout the year, determining targets and strategies for each quarter. Its overall revenue collection target for 2015/16 is R1.1 trillion.
"This year we have all made a decision that it is a day-to-day function…We are pushing hard to limit the gaps in terms of the revenue,” he said.
Finance committee chairman Yunus Carrim said they believed SARS should be commended for its first-quarter performance.
"Hey, that’s better than you can imagine anywhere in the world with the current economic constraints you have,” he emphasised.
This article first appeared on citizen.co.za.