Pretoria: Additional help for taxpayers using e-Filing has gone live, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) said on Monday.
From today e-Filing users who require assistance while completing their tax returns online will be able to use the Help-You-eFile service, a new facility which allows them to be in direct contact with a SARS Call Centre agent while they complete their tax return online.
With permission from the taxpayer, the facility enables a call centre agent to access the taxpayer’s eFiling browsing session at the same time as the taxpayer and to see exactly what the taxpayer is seeing.
When clicking on the Help-You-eFile icon on their eFiling profile a taxpayer will be prompted to accept the Terms and Conditions. They will then receive a Help-You-eFile session reference number on their eFiling profile.
The taxpayer will then need to call the SARS contact centre on 0800 00 7277, quoting their reference number to the call centre agent who responds.
The agent will then launch the Help-You-eFile session and the taxpayer will receive a request asking whether the agent may connect to the session. By sharing the same information on two different computer screens, the taxpayer is allowing the SARS agent to shadow them as they complete the return and even highlight areas on their screen for additional clarity.
The taxpayer benefits by being able to call on the support and advice of SARS staff without having to visit a branch.
“This is the first time any revenue service around the world has instituted such a system and SARS is proud to be at the forefront of such technological advancements,” said the revenue service.
Sensitive information such as the taxpayer’s banking details, password and login are not visible to the SARS contact centre agents – but all other information is visible.
The agent also has view-only access and cannot enter any information on the return but can direct the taxpayer on where to enter information by highlighting fields on the return.
A new tutorial video on how to use Help-You-eFile will be available on the SARS YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/sarstax from later today.
To date SARS has received 2.3 million tax returns since the 2012 Tax Season commenced at the beginning of July exceeding SARS expectation. At the same time last year 1.5 million tax returns had been submitted.
Currently the average rate of submission per day since 1 July 2012, is over 40 300.
“The unintended consequence has been that queues at branches have been much longer than during previous year. Across the country SARS branch staff, on average, assists more than 20 000 taxpayers per day.”
Statistics indicate that branches are seeing 55% more taxpayers than the same period last year.
SARS said it hopes that the new facility to help taxpayers with eFiling will alleviate some of these pressures on branch offices while also thanking South Africans who have filed their returns early.
The deadline for taxpayers who submit their tax returns manually by post or by dropping it off in a SARS drop box, is 28 September 2012 while the deadline for all taxpayers who submit their returns electronically at a SARS branch is 23 November 2012.
Non-Provisional taxpayers who submit their returns via eFiling also have until 23 November 2012.
Provisional taxpayers who submit their returns via eFiling have until 31 January 2013.