South African Taxpayers Set Record

Individual taxpayers have exceeded all expectations and set a new record by submitting almost 873,000 income tax returns to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in the first month of the 2011 tax season, an increase of 44% in taxpayer compliance over the previous year.

So far, it is said, SARS branches have assisted 290,000 taxpayers to file their returns via a branch (33.2%) while 568,000 returns (65.1%) have been submitted via eFiling. Only nearly 15,000 returns (1.7%) were submitted by post.

In addition, the SARS contact centre has fielded close to 743,000 calls during July 2011. In contrast, during July 2010, it had only received about 588,000 calls. It is pointed out that, in line with SARS’s commitment to continually improve its service to taxpayers, the contact centre has resolved 94% of the calls on first interaction.

SARS believes the significant increase in early filing reflects a growing recognition among taxpayers of the benefits of filing early and electronically. Among the benefits of early and electronic submission is the rapid payment of refunds to those who are due rebates.

SARS has confirmed that it has paid out close to ZAR2.6bn (USD382.6m) in refunds to individual taxpayers so far this tax season, with over 80% being paid into taxpayers’ bank accounts within 48 hours of submission. The average time to receive an assessment is less than 24 hours after electronic submission.

The deadlines for submitting returns in this year’s tax season are September 30, 2011 for postal submissions (paper tax returns) for provisional and non-provisional taxpayers; November 25, 2011 for taxpayers who use eFiling; and January 31, 2012, for provisional taxpayers who file via eFiling.

TAXtalk: www.taxtalk.co.za

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