South Africans Flock to Internet Tax Filing

September 21, 2011 Taxation in South Africa

tax Filing in South AfricaPRETORIA – South Africans are submitting their annual tax returns in droves, with record numbers of taxpayers having filed their annual obligations so far this year.

In a statement issued on September 20th the South African Revenue Service (SARS) announced that throughout the 2011 tax filing season the Service saw the highest number of early filers since records began, and an unprecedented level of electronic submissions.

According to the statement, it only took 11 weeks for 2 million South African taxpayers to file their returns. Last year, the same number of submissions took 14 weeks to achieve. In total, 2 043 759 returns had been received at the time statement’s release, a 16 percent improvement over the previous year.

SARS Commissioner Oupa Magashula commented on the results saying that SARS is positively influencing the country’s tax compliance culture, and South African taxpayers are now seeing the benefits of complying with their obligations in a timely manner. The Commissioner specifically applauded the effectiveness of SARS’s efforts to encourage taxpayers to utilize online filing methods. So far 98 percent of all filers either used electronic filing or visited a SARS temporary office where they were assisted with an online submission. For the remained of the year SARS will continue with its public education campaigns on electronic filing and tax compliance.

The SARS online filing system, also called eFiling, is touted as a being superior to traditional paper submissions, as it reduces compliance costs for SARS and taxpayers. Wholly electronic submissions allow for a greater level of data checking on tax returns, and help to avoid any processing congestion near the tax season deadlines.

Photo by afromusing