South Africa Boosts Tax Return Numbers

December 1, 2011 Taxation in South Africa

Tax Return in South AfricaCAPE TOWN – Embracing electronic filing technology has paid off for tax authorities in South Africa with faster processing times, higher compliance, and greater number of tax filers.

On November 30th the South African Revenue Service (SARS) released a statement with final outcomes of the 2011 tax season, reporting that a greater number of tax returns were processed than in any previous year.

According to the statement, 4.86 million individual tax returns were received during the tax filing season between July 1st and November 25th, with the total number of individuals who filed their tax returns is a 23 percent increase compared to the same period in 2010.

SARS attributes the increasing number of submitted tax returns to an efficient push for taxpayers to embrace electronic filing technology. In 2011 approximately 99.15 percent of all returns were submitted online or through a SARS branch office which provides computer access. The switch to electronic filing has allowed SARS to process 98.36 percent of all tax returns within 24 hours of filing, and pay 85 percent of all refunds within 72 hours.

The increasing use of technology has also meant that SARS has had access to greater amounts of readily searchable and compiled taxpayer data, significantly increasing the Service’s enforcement capabilities. Through the use of sophisticated data matching and threat detection technologies the SARS issued 5.2 million penalty notices to 637 965 taxpayers over the course of the 2011 tax season.

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