SARS (South African Revenue Service) has encouraged taxpayers to submit income tax returns via the SARS eFiling or the SARS MobiApp when the tax season commences on 1 July 2019.
Taxpayers who do not use SARS eFiling or the SARS MobiApp and require assistance from SARS branch staff to file their income tax returns will only be able to do so from 1 August 2019 to 31 October 2019.
What is the SARS MobiApp?
The SARS MobiApp is a mobile channel from which you can complete and submit your Income Tax Return (ITR12).
You can easily install the SARS MobiApp from the App Store (for Apple devices) or Google Play Store (for Android devices). On the SARS MobiApp you can register, complete, save and submit your 2019 return, as well as returns from previous years.
You may also use the app for the following:
- Register for eFiling
- Reset your username and password
- File your return
- Upload and submit supporting documents
- Make a payment to SARS
- Set up a Call Back from the SARS Contact Centre
- View a Notice of Assessment
- Request and view the Income Tax Statement of Account
- View the status of the return
- Use the tax calculator
- Which devices are compatible with the SARS MobiApp?
- iOS version 10 to latest
- Android version 5.0 to latest
Source: Algoa FM
The South African Revenue Services (SARS) on Monday announced it will be migrating to a new hosting platform for its electronic services this month.
SARS said the “new and reliable platform” features the latest technology on the market, and includes a refresh of SARS’ hardware and software.
According to a statement, this is part of their journey towards digital transformation, which is expected to deliver a myriad of innovative solutions in support of their mandate to make it easy and safe for taxpayers to comply.
During the migration the following services will be affected:
- SARS eFiling
- eFiling app
- Employer and SARS website
The Customs Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) gateway, which is the primary electronic channel used by Customs clients to communicate with SARS, will not be impacted.
Clients are encouraged to conclude all transactions on these systems well before the migration. However, urgent transactions that need to be made during this period can be done manually at all of their branches which will operate on normal hours.
By Katya Stead for Fin24
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) announced on Monday afternoon that it had collected R1 287.6bn in tax for the financial year ended March 31 2019, some R14.6bn less than what was estimated in the revised Budget.
The tax agency’s acting head, Mark Kingon, made the announcement in Pretoria. The 2019 revised Budget estimated a tax haul of R1 302.2bn for the past financial year.
“It should be noted that these are preliminary results, which will be subject to detailed financial reconciliation and a final audit.” the agency said in a statement.
While SARS collected more tax in total in the year ended March 31, it also paid out more in refunds.
The revenue collection agency said that gross collections grew by 8.6% year-on-year. Refunds recorded an even more impressive annual growth of of 22.7%.
“The gross amount collected is R1 575.4bn, which was offset by refunds of R287.8bn, resulting in net collections of R1 287.6bn. The net revenue outcome of R1 287.6bn represents a growth of R71.2bn (5.8%) compared to the 2017/18 financial year.”
This follows the announcement by the minister of finance during the mini budget that the VAT refund envelope would be increased to allow the release of refunds from the fiscus back into the economy.
VAT refunds for the year totalled R229.2bn, an increase of R38.1bn, or 19.9%, over the previous year.
Speaking at the results release on Monday, Mamiky Leolo, acting group executive of the tax, customs and excise unit at SARS, said the shortfall was near historic proportions. “This is the highest decline we’ve seen since the Great Depression. The deviation is R14.6 billion. I think in terms of the numbers it is a bit of a shock. But statistically, we are 1.1% off. We’ve done a very good job under tough circumstances.”
Despite the shortfall, the agency is targeting a total of R1 422bn in tax revenue collection for the 2019/20 year.
Axed SARS boss Tom Moyane has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa demanding that Ramaphosa withdraw his letter of termination to Moyane before the end of the week.
In a letter issued via his attorney Eric Mabuza on Tuesday, Moyane gave Ramaphosa a deadline of 12 noon on Friday November 9 to withdraw the termination on grounds that the president’s conduct was “irrational, unlawful and invalid”.
“[W]e are instructed to demand, as we hereby do, that you must forthwith withdraw your letter of termination dated 1 November 2018, restore the status quo which obtained before the service thereof (i.e. that our client is suspended with pay pending the outcome of the Disciplinary Inquiry) and duly await the outcome of the pending Constitutional Court application and/or the Disciplinary Inquiry,” the letter reads.
Last week the Presidency confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa had fired Tom Moyane as the commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
Ramaphosa had heeded the recommendations of the Nugent Commission of Inquiry, which submitted its interim report at the end of September.
Retired judge Robert Nugent and his assistants unanimously agreed that Moyane does not have the character of a person fit to lead Sars and he should be removed from office as a matter of urgency.
SARS e-filing is at risk
By Baldwin Ndaba for IOL
The e-filing tax system will crash in the next two years unless urgent measures are undertaken to recall Barry Hore, who masterminded the IT system dubbed Modernisation.
Senior South African Revenue Services (SARS) official Andre Rabie issued the warning during the conclusion of his testimony before the Nugent Commission tasked to probe administration and governance at SARS since suspended commissioner Tom Moyane took over in September 2014.
Moyane allegedly scrapped an IT system which was introduced by former commissioner Pravin Gordhan in 2007 while he was still at the helm.
The system was continued in SARS even after Gordhan accepted a ministerial post in 2009. Witnesses testified that the Modernisation programme improved the SARS IT system, capturing data of all taxpayers including big business and multinational companies.
According to Rabie, a newsflash announcement on December 12, 2014 – three months after Moyane’s appointment – marked the end of the Modernisation project.
Sue Burger, a senior project manager at SARS, yesterday gave shocking details of Moyane’s decision to end the Modernisation system and its impact on her unit. Burger said Moyane’s decision placed more than R66million worth of projects at risk.
Three witnesses, including Burger, painted a worrying picture about how Moyane allegedly collapsed IT systems, customs enforcement measures and nearly scrapped the e-filing tax system – a few months after taking over.
Earlier the commission heard that the modernisation was introduced in SARS in 2007 when Gordhan was there.
Burger told the commission she was the SARS project manager for customs enforcement. She was the leader of a team of 12 people while others also had people working under them, she said.
SARS, at the beginning of each year, under the Modernisation project, adopted an annual performance plan to improve revenue collection and to implement any new legislation introduced by the government, Burger said.
All the units worked as a team and had regular meetings to assess their achievements and failures including budgeting for their different projects.
The commission heard that this was the practice since the tenure of Gordhan and continued with SARS commissioners without fail until September 2014, when Moyane took over.
Burger and others testified that their troubles began on December 12, 2014, when a newsflash appeared on their internal communication system announcing the scrapping of the Modernisation project.
“We were not consulted about it. The decision placed more than R66m worth of projects at risk. It was just like the curtain had fallen,” Burger said.
She told the commission that SARS had since December 2014 failed to account for more than R22m worth of assets which were captured in the e-Central system.
She said Moyane then introduced a new IT partner, Gartner, to set up a new IT system.
According to her, all project managers were grouped into one under her leadership.
Gartner is one of the companies the National Treasury has compiled a dossier on – it was paid more than R200m without proper procurement processes.
Yesterday, the commission heard that Gartner scrapped all the Modernisation legacy projects, but Burger said they had to plead for the e-filing system to be retained.
The hearing continues.
By Sunita Menon for Sunday Times
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has undershot Treasury’s revised revenue target for 2017-18.
SARS collected R1.216-trillion for 2017-18‚ Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said at the announcement of the preliminary revenue results in Pretoria on Tuesday. Tax revenues amounted to R700 million‚ or 0.06%‚ short of the revised estimate announced in the February 2018 budget‚ but still represents growth of R72.4 billion or 6.3% from 2016-17.
Malusi Gigaba‚ who was finance minister at the time‚ announced in the budget in February that tax collection of R1.217-trillion was expected — up slightly from the previous estimate of R1.214-trillion but still much lower than the ambitious R1.265-trillion target announced in 2017.
Treasury still expects a R48.2-billion revenue shortfall for 2017-18‚ which it says reflects weak growth‚ administrative challenges at SARS‚ and increased tax avoidance.
Under the watch of suspended commissioner Tom Moyane‚ SARS has in recent years reported revenue shortfalls on a scale not seen since the 2008 financial crisis.
SARS collected a gross amount of R1.415-trillion in 2017-18‚ which was offset by refunds of R234.3 billion. Personal income tax contributed R462 billion‚ value-added tax (VAT) contributed R297 billion‚ company income tax contributed R220 billion and customs contributed R49 billion.
An improved trend in revenue collection in the latter part of 2017 was offset by a contraction in March‚ because of timing issues and base effects relating to bringing collections forward.
“Up until February we were right on track but the collections in March broke this‚” said SARS head of research Randall Carolissen.
Nene said: “Tax compliance is one of the key determinants of revenue collection. SARS has seen a decline in compliance.
“Ninety percent of the budget comes from revenue collections and forms the basis of our fiscal framework‚” he said.
The 2018 budget demonstrated that growth was expected to be higher and that the government had made significant changes to the fiscal framework‚ including revising the expenditure ceiling downwards‚ Nene said.
The revenue estimated for 2018-19 is R1.345-trillion‚ which represents growth of 10.3%.
By Jean Du Toit for City Press via News24
You need to be aware that, if you have outstanding tax debt, the SA Revenue Service (SARS) has the power to reach into your bank account and take the outstanding funds by instructing your bank, as its agent, to allow it access – sometimes even without notifying you.
The chances of this happening increase when the end of the tax year is approaching and when SARS has not reached its budget target.
In fact, the Tax Administration Act provides that SARS may notify any third party to pay any money it holds on your behalf to the receiver. Failure to comply makes the bank (or even your employer) personally liable for your debt.
SARS is kind compared with the French
The French Revenue Authority is known for having piloted this tactic. In France, even if the Revenue Authority has no basis to collect outstanding funds, you will be held liable for the legal fees if there is some fault on your part, such as not responding to notices or not having kept your taxpayer particulars up to date.
Here, taxpayers are especially annoyed if SARS acts on a false tax debt or if proper procedure is not observed. SARS is required to adhere to the procedure prescribed by the act, which imposes procedural requirements on to it – for example, to send a final demand 10 business days before it proceeds with the collection.
Alarmingly, however, there are cases in which SARS has withdrawn funds from taxpayers’ accounts without their being notified. Whether this is a result of deficient communication from SARS or a flagrant disregard for the prescribed tax procedure is not relevant, as the withdrawal can be reversed either way.
Don’t put your head in the sand
Taxpayers must be alert when it comes to any attempts by SARS to communicate with them, as ignorance of the legal process will be to your detriment. The biggest mistake taxpayers make is ignoring their tax status, perhaps hoping the problem will go away.
Here are some useful tips:
Regardless of any assurances by your tax practitioner or friend who has been doing your taxes, draw a “statement of account” from your SARS e-filing profile. If the statement shows an outstanding debt, even if it is erroneous, you must act immediately.
The SARS collection process is not suspended if you have objected to an assessment. You must always do a separate suspension of payment request, and this must contain the correct motivation.
Even when there is an obvious mistake on SARS’ part, incorrectly claiming that you owe taxes, or where a SARS official has assured you that the mistake will be rectified, SARS is not legally bound to solve your problem. SARS’ debt collection department is a separate business unit with its own objectives. It is removed from normal tax assessments and will pursue any outstanding debts if no suspension is in place.
It must be understood that the law must protect society to ensure that everyone pays their taxes, and defaulters must effectively be dealt with. Unfortunately, the innocent taxpayer may also get the treatment under these harsh provisions, but, because tax is ultimately a function of law, there is always a legal recourse in these instances.
* Du Toit is an attorney at Tax Consulting SA.
By Sifiso Zulu for EWN
President Cyril Ramaphosa has suspended Tom Moyane as South African Revenue Service (SARS) Commissioner with immediate effect.
The Presidency says Ramaphosa met with Moyane on Monday to inform him of his decision after reports that the now suspended senior tax official refused to resign.
Ramaphosa has cited that developments at SARS under the leadership of Moyane have resulted in a deterioration of public confidence in the institution and public finances being compromised.
Moyane appeared in Parliament recently to answer questions about infighting at SARS including his handling of ex-tax official Jonas Makwakwa’s disciplinary hearing.
Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko says: “The president has said the actions of Mr Moyane in relations to a number of matters, including his treatment of Mr Makwakwa and his failure to report this issue to the Minister of Finance but also management of it in that regard have brought SARS into serious disrepute and this is what the president was acting against.”
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says the suspension of Moyane is a start towards restoring confidence in the revenue service and improving tax morality.
Outa’s Wayne Duvenage says this decision will also improve relations between the finance ministry and SARS.
“We get the reporting lines right between the minister of finance and SARS which was removed when Jacob Zuma was there and he had direct control there. I think we’ll start to see accountability improve, performance improvement and efficiency at SARS and we’ll get back to an efficient organisation that collects taxes well.”
Meanwhile, on Monday night Treasury announced Mark Kingon as acting commissioner for SARS.
Kingon has been serving as acting chief officer of business and individual taxes at the revenue service.
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has said that it will soon provide some much-needed clarity on the tax implications for transferring and purchasing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. They have advised that traders should declare in the meantime if they need to.
eNCA spoke to SARS about the ever-growing use of cryptocurrencies in the country. While SARS is treating cryptocurrencies as part of Capital Gains Tax, head of SARS tax research Randall Carolissen said they are still exploring it further.
“Because by the very nature it lends itself to money laundering and anonymised trading, so yes we have to put in and place additional regulations. And to that end, we are going to release an interpretation note from our legal department to guide taxpayers as to their implications with respect to this Bitcoin technology,” Carolissen told eNCA
SARS revealed that it is also working with top global technology companies that are doing similar work regarding crypto and tax. With block chains being incredibly difficult to monitor, the deductions will depend on what coin is used.
“Since it’s not legal tender it is treated as an asset in your hands. And depending on your intent with this asset, it can trigger different tax instruments. It can either be a revenue nature or it could be an asset, capital gains tax in nature,” Carolissen said.”
“People need to come forward and regualise their tax affairs with us. And the guideline will also assist them with that. But as and when you submit your tax returns you must declare that as either additional income or additional asset revenue realisation that you’ve had. So it’s very important that you don’t discard that or ignore that part. Especially those people who took advantage of Bitcoin in the early stages.”
By Nic Andersen for The South African
SARS has announced that it will intensify criminal proceedings against tax offenders from October.
In a statement released, the revenue collector warned South African taxpayers to “pay your taxes or pay the price”, after it had seen a large increase in taxpayers not submitting their returns within stipulated timeframes.
“We have noticed an increase in taxpayers not submitting their tax returns by the stipulated deadlines‚ and not settling their outstanding debt‚” SARS said.
“This is not limited to the current tax year but includes substantial non-compliance across previous tax years. It is for this reason that from October 2017 SARS will now intensify criminal proceedings against tax offenders.”
“Should any return result in a tax debt, it must be paid before the relevant due date to avoid any interest for late payment and legal action,” it said.
These punishments could include fines or even criminal prosecution, it said.
While SARS pushes to meet its deadlines, it has also recently come under fire for failing to issue refunds timeously.
On 4 September, the tax ombudsman found that SARS’ system had unfairly delayed payment of refunds to taxpayers.
The ombud said that the findings were not only based on complaints received during the previous tax year, but over the course of multiple years.
“In the period November 2016 to March 2017, we received no less than 500 such complaints; half of which were validated. While the number of complaints received is important, this is not necessarily indicative of the financial magnitude or impact of the problem because, one claim may run into millions,” it said.
“The impact of the withholding of refunds may be devastating to the taxpayer. What appears to be a small claim may have serious cash flow impact on that small taxpayer company, or an individual.”
In a statement in July, SARS said that it is important for taxpayers expecting a speedy payment to note that it has implemented additional risk processes in 2017, to ensure that both the legitimacy and accuracy of the refunds paid.
“SARS has an obligation to both taxpayers as well as to the fiscus to ensure that fraudulent and invalid claims are stopped,” it said.
“We are aware that taxpayers have an expectation that once they submit a return, which results in a refund, that this would be paid to them shortly thereafter. It must be noted that such refunds can only be paid once all SARS processes have been concluded.”