South Africa Sees Record Filing Numbers

June 10, 2011 Taxation in South Africa

 South Africa tax filingSouth Africa’s efforts to improve national tax compliance are paying off, with a record high number of employers submitting their annual tax reconciliations throughout the year.

In a media statement released on June 9th the South African Revenues Service (SARS) revealed that its tax compliance efforts have paid off well throughout the 2011 tax season, with nearly 11 percent more employers filing their mandatory annual tax reconciliations.

According to information released in SARS’s statement, a total of 235 882 employers filed annual reconciliations during the business tax filing season ended June 3rd. The latest results are reported to be the highest level ever recorded in South Africa. In the 2010 tax year only 212 969 employers filed the same reconciliations. The returns provided information on over 14.8 million employees, with all the collected data being used as verification for returns submitted by personal taxpayers. In an effort to compel an even further number of reconciliations to be submitted, the SARS is offering a waiver of the normal 10 percent late-filing penalty to any businesses that immediately attempts to meet their obligations, and has a valid reason for not submitting them on time.

On June 7th the Finance Minister of South Africa Pravin Gordhan made a preliminary indication that the 2011 tax season would be highly successful, attributing the now-announced results to a greater push for compliance by SARS. He stated that the Revenue Service’s new non-compliance penalties were encouraging a greater number of taxpayers to meet their obligations, revealing that over 230 000 penalty notices have been issued by SARS this year. He added that in excess of ZAR 189 million has already been paid in penalties.

Buoyed by its successful year, the government of South Africa is pushing for other nations on the African continent to pursue improved tax administration systems. On June 8th the SARS reported to parliament saying that in the 2011 fiscal year it will spend SAR 8.7 million to run the secretariat of the African Tax Administration Forum, in which it will attempt to aid other African nations in increasing their tax-to-GDP ratio, through improvements in tax administration.

Photo by [Y]-D