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SARS to release new data on earning and spending patterns

Monday, 26 May 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Amanda Visser
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Author: Amanda Visser (BDlive) 

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) on Wednesday set out initiatives aimed at giving taxpayers a better idea of how revenue is earned and spent, and the government a better idea of who earns what and where they spend their money.

Tax statistics informed all policy changes and assisted in economic forecasting and modelling, as well as offering timeous warning on economic changes, delegates at a SARS workshop on initiatives to improve tax statistics were told.

Statistics had assisted the minister of finance in preparing the market for the economic crisis that hit the world in 2008. The crisis led to a large downward revision of estimated tax revenue in South Africa, which otherwise weathered the storm better than others.

The initiatives that will offer taxpayers and the government deeper insight include a breakdown of employment and income dynamics.

The authorities would also publish a map plotting the amount of tax individuals pay by magisterial district, based on where they live.

SARS revenue planning group executive Randall Carolissen said the use of data analytics in tax administration was on the increase.

In Denmark, for example, when it was used to examine non-compliance hotspots in terms of tax return submissions, it was found that several crime syndicates were operating in two particularly non-compliant city suburbs.

In Taiwan, tax data analytics were used to examine the pattern of ships, which increased the successful hit rate when it came to smuggling on certain routes.

SARS has been publishing its tax statistics since 2008.

The seventh edition is expected in October this year.

Liz Gavin, executive in charge of revenue research in Mr Carolissen’s division, said the average tax rate of individual taxpayers was 20.2%.

Ten percent of individuals earned 38.5% of total taxable income, yet were liable for 58.17% of personal income tax.

This illustrated the progressive nature of the South African tax burden, she said. The personal income tax register had grown from 13.7-million people in March 2012 to 15.4-million by March last year after it became compulsory for all employees to be registered.

Only about 6-million of them were liable to submit tax returns.

The rest fell below the submissions threshold.

Deon Breytenbach, executive for revenue planning and analysis in the division, said a future development would be the inclusion in the statistics of a table that set out the number of transactions, property and values and transfer duty in property value groupings for those properties subject to transfer duty.

He said the tax statistics would also in future include a table that combined the contributions of the different tax types (personal income tax, company income tax and VAT) by economic sector, and a table that gave a breakdown of the different components of the fuel levy (diesel refunds, pipeline levy and Road Accident Fund recoupment).

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