By 9h00 this morning the South African Revenue Service (SARS) had received over 2 million (2,000,126) income tax returns for the 2013 Tax Season. This compares favourably with the 1,840,834 returns submitted in the same period last year.
Of these, 1,060,242 were filed via eFiling, 936,041 were filed electronically at branches, and only 3,843 in manual paper form. The highest rate of submissions was on 2 July, with well over 80 000 tax returns received.
Activity on the SARS eFiling site reached new levels at the start of Tax Season – 2 July saw more than 320 000 log-ins onto the site, with more than 300 000 recorded on 1 July. The highest number of log-ins per day during 2012 was 266 000.
In the 45 days since Tax Season started, SARS has paid over 1 million refunds (1,011,534), worth over R6 billion (R6,081,480,057) to taxpayers. This is considerably more than last year, where 964,048 refunds worth over R5 billion (R5,305,803,751) were paid in the same period.
SARS wants to thank all taxpayers who have already submitted their income tax returns for this year and wants to encourage all taxpayers to continue to submit returns early in order to avoid the last minute rush during the final days of the Tax Season.
A key priority for SARS in this Tax Season has been the registration of controlling bodies for Tax Practitioners in order to provide a framework that will ensure that tax practitioners are appropriately qualified and that a mechanism is available, both to taxpayers and SARS, to address misconduct
The criteria for recognition by SARS dealt with the legislative requirements that controlling bodies must maintain relevant and effective:
Minimum qualifications and education
Codes of conduct
Disciplinary codes and procedures
Continuous professional development
The registration of tax practitioners with a recognised controlling body is the first phase of the regulation of tax practitioners. The second phase involves the establishment of an independent regulatory board for tax practitioner and will begin with a review of the success or otherwise of the first phase eighteen months after its implementation
Thus far, 2,671 tax practitioners have completed new registrations, and 10,515 practitioners have updated their existing registrations.
Tax Season 2013 started on 1 July 2013.
The deadline for taxpayers, who submit their tax returns manually by post or by dropping them off in a SARS drop box, is 27 September 2013.
The deadline for all non-provisional taxpayers is 22 November 2013. Non-provisional taxpayers are the majority of employed individuals who submit a tax return and who earn an income from one or more employer.
The deadline for Provisional taxpayers is 31 January 2014. Provisional taxpayers form a much smaller segment of the tax base and are those individuals with other forms of income like investment income, income from business activities, rental income, royalties income or directors of companies.