More than 5.94 million meet SARS tax filling season deadline

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Sars denied reports that it had bullied Minister Pravin Gordhan into testifying against senior officials in a disciplinary hearing regarding the so-called rogue unit.

PRETORIA - More than 5.94 million taxpayers met the SA Revenue Service’s (SARS) 2015 tax filling season deadline, on Friday, acting SARS Commissioner Jonas Makwakwa said on Sunday.

Announcing the preliminary results Makwakwa, paid tribute to taxpayers who met their responsibility. “No doubt this is a significant achievement. We are proud of the high level of fiscal citizenship demonstrated by taxpayers. Thank you South Africa, this tax season belongs to the millions of taxpayers that submitted their tax returns on time.”

The 5.94 million submissions received was 11.52 percent higher than in 2014. This number included individuals, trusts, and prior year submissions. Compliance for taxpayers filing on time exceeded 90 percent for the third consecutive year, he said.

“It is pleasing that millions of South African citizens agree that meeting their tax obligations is cool. This high level of compliance contributes to nation-building and enables the government to deliver services that improve the quality of life of all its citizens.”

Of the 5.94 million returns submitted by the November 27 deadline, 4.2 million were from individuals for the 2015 tax year and 1.69 million were outstanding returns from prior years. There were 45,390 trust returns.

Of the total number of returns, 99.96 percent were filed electronically, either via efiling representing 51.84 percent, or through electronically assisted filing at a SARS branch or mobile tax unit. Manual submissions were down to less than 2000 returns, representing 0.04 percent of total volume.

More than 95 percent of all returns submitted were assessed within three seconds and more than 99 percent within 24 hours. SARS paid out 1.82 million refunds to the value of R15 billion. More than 95 percent of these refunds were paid within 72 hours.

“Outstanding return submissions increased with 679,544 returns, representing a growth of 66.43 percent. This noteworthy increase is ascribed to the success of the administrative penalty regime. We encourage taxpayers who have not yet submitted their returns to do so and join the majority of taxpayers who did so,” Makwakwa said.