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News & Press: SARS News & Tax Administration

Sars app and mobi site to be launched

Tuesday, 03 July 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: SAIT Technical
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By Jeanette Clark (Moneywebtax)

Your assessment could now take three minutes.

PRETORIA - This year you will be able to file your return using smartphones, tablets and even normal cellphones.

The eFiling App, the mobi site and a Help-You-eFile service where call centre staff will be able to remotely access your filing session online to help you, are in the final testing phase and will be available later.

South African Revenue Services (Sars) commissioner Oupa Magashula said the revenue service is hoping the public will interact with it on Facebook to volunteer to be part of the final pilot phase for these applications.

Another new features for this year's tax season is the promise of quicker assessments within minutes of filing your return online. In 1994 tax payers had to wait three months for an assessment, now the promise is three minutes.

The 2012 Tax Season opened on Sunday and by 10am on Monday morning 33091 tax returns had already been filed via eFiling. Sars is expecting between 5m and 6m taxpayers to submit their income tax returns over the next five months.

The deadline for tax returns for the majority of South Africans (non-provisional taxpayers who submit their returns via eFiling or electronically at a Sars branch) is 23 November.

Magashula warned that penalties will be levied for those who fail to file their return, after all the legal processes have been followed.

This amounts to a minimum of R230 per month. Magashula said Sars currently has about 300000 individuals on whom penalties are being levied and last year R1.7bn was collected through administrative penalties.

SA's revenue is enough

Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Finance, said that the revenue South Africa has at its disposal is enough, given the current constraints the country faces.

Speaking at the launch of the 2012 Tax Season, he said that South Africa had lost about R60bn in revenue during the 2008/2009 economic crisis and that the country had not yet recovered from that loss fully.

Gordhan said that in tough economic times the country and its people need to live within the means of what they have, but also to "make sure to get the best value" for the tax money that is contributed to the fiscus.

"This is our biggest challenge," he said with reference to making sure that the tax contributions are spent efficiently.

Gordhan said that although government is often criticised for its use of the money, the public needs to remember that private business is also party to the transactions that are criticised.

He referred to businesses adding premiums to their costs when tendering for government contracts and stated that "that kind of nonsense must stop."

Gordhan told the media that the tax base in South Africa was still not wide enough and that South Africa needs to do a lot more to grow its economy and in doing this, increase the tax base.

He reiterated that the tax base consists of all citizens and people in South Africa who engage in a transaction where tax is applicable or levied.

This means that even a child buying some sweets from a shop on which VAT is levied, forms part of the tax base.

Gordhan said that sometimes when reports talk about the tax base, the reference is only to individual tax payers.

Individual taxation, however, only makes up about 30% of all revenue collection. This base of individual tax payers have increased substantially though, climbing from 1.7m registered individual taxpayers in 1994 to over 13m currently.

Gordhan said the way in which you grow the tax base is to grow the economy, increasing the number of employed South Africans, boosting the levels of their wages so that they can pay tax, encouraging more entrepreneurship and the creation of small business and boosting production in the country.

"By creating jobs you are creating tax payers," he said.

He also stated that the country needs a more inclusive economy where all South Africans benefit so that the majority of the population can participate in the economy and increase consumption spend, which then also boosts the economy.

Some statistics and information

  • Approximately 12m individual taxpayers contributed a total of R251.6bn through personal income tax in the last tax year - 33.8% of total revenue collection.
  • There are 10.7m pre-populated tax returns awaiting completion and submission by taxpayers.
  • Of these only 5m returns are expected, as the rest fall under the filing thresholds.
  • The App was developed as smartphone usage in South Africa is increasing rapidly - there are 8.5m smartphone users in South Africa currently.
  • In the 2011 tax year you could get your assessment within 24 hours of submitting, Sars is now promising that you will receive the preliminary assessment within three minutes.
  • For those who need some tutorials to submit their tax returns Sars has a YouTube channel at



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