Pretoria: The South African Revenue Service (Sars) has so far received more than 50 000 returns, as tax season officially gets off the ground on Tuesday.
In a media briefing in Pretoria, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene called on South Africans to submit their tax returns.
To make the filing process easier, the minister said 14 000 Sars officials will be deployed at various strategic points throughout the country. Temporary service points will also be set up to help people submit their returns.
“As of today, nine fully equipped mobile tax units are being deployed to remote areas throughout the country.
“In 2013, the mobile tax units engaged with more than 752 000 individuals through awareness, tax education campaigns and the filing of returns across the country,” said Minister Nene.
He said officials would be on the lookout for fraud and corrupt individuals.
“We would like to warn those that who will be submitting fraudulent tax returns that we are on the lookout for them.”
Sars Acting Commissioner Ivan Pillay echoed Minister Nene’s warning. “We would like to warn them that they should not even go there.”
According to Minister Nene, in 2013, about one million taxpayers, who were not required to submit tax returns, did so. This year, Sars has improved its ability to verify taxpayer information through third party data.
“We advise taxpayers that Sars will in particular focus on medical aid claims, retirement fund contributions, income protection policy contributors and tax payers who submit revised returns for previous years,” the minister said.
The tax deadline for the manual submission of returns is 26 September 2014. The deadline for all non-provisional taxpayers is 21 November 2014. The deadline for provisional taxpayers using e-filing is 30 January 2015.
Improving Sars service
In a bid to ensure that people are able to submit their tax returns, Sars has over the past three years opened six new branch offices. A refurbished and improved Sars branch office was opened in Mthata, in the Eastern Cape, last week.
Another branch office opened its doors at Bara Mall in Soweto to complement the services already offered at the existing Soweto branch office.
Pillay advised people to check the credibility of tax practitioners, and to ensure that they are registered.
According to Pillay, there are 38 000 tax practitioners and close to 11 000 are accredited, giving them the right to operate on behalf of their clients.
“Only an accredited tax practitioner will be able to complete and submit tax returns on behalf of their clients,” Pillay said.
Taxpayers, who are concerned about getting scammed through emails or SMSes, can call the fraud and anti-corruption hotline on 0800 00 2870 or call the Sars contact centre on 0800 00 7277.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICA OFFICIAL NEWS