South Africa Sets Record Tax Year

January 28, 2010 Taxation in South Africa

I hate tax returns!The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced that the 2009 year broke records in tax return efficiency, filing and improved compliance.

In a media release the SARS announced that the 2009 tax season had set “phenomenal” new records. The number of tax returns submitted by the November 20th deadline rose by 26 percent, exceeding 4 million for the first time. Individual tax return filing, including overdue 2008 returns, reached 3.9 million. Approximately 79 percent of individual tax payers filed their tax-returns before the deadline, compared to 58 percent in 2008. Electronic filing of individual returns rose by over 100 percent and surpassed 2 million for the first time. The deadline day saw 230 000 tax submissions, 200 000 of these were filed electronically, nearly 64 000 more than 2008. Further, electronic submissions on the deadline day are estimated to be ten times higher than that of an average year’s total.

According to the SARS release, the average turnaround time for returns decreased from 15 days in 2008 to 1.7 days in 2009. Further, approximately 97 percent of all returns were assessed within 24 hours as compared to only 66 percent in 2008.

The compliance and filing improvements were attributed to a new set of non-compliance penalties announced by SARS in October, 2009. Though the results of the new penalties have proven to be effective, the SARS office has stated that there are still a disappointingly high number of persistent non-compliers. Approximately 250 000 individuals still hold outstanding filing requirements for 2009 and previous years.

Photo by Dunk the Funk