SARS sees increase in tax submissions

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) received 5.785 million returns by Wednesday (31 October), which marked the close of tax season for non-provisional taxpayers.

According to SARS, these returns comprised of the following:

  • 4.229 million returns by individual taxpayers (returns relevant to the current year);
  • 1.459 million returns by individual taxpayers filed during this Tax Season but relevant to prior years);
  • 42,087 returns filed by trusts (returns relevant to the current year);
  • 53,973 returns filed by trusts (returns filed during this Tax Season but relevant to prior years).

The number of submissions received this year marks a 2.1% increase from the previous year’s submissions which totalled at 5.665 million returns. This is despite a shorter filing season, SARS said.

A total 96.1% of expected returns from individuals were submitted on time, exceeding last year’s rate of 94%.

The returns expected are informed by last year’s submissions and IRP5 information from employers excluding provisional taxpayers.

“We want to thank taxpayers who filed, for doing the right thing and making their contribution to our country. Our data shows that taxpayers adapted to the shorter filing season and that filing patterns remained steady and on par,” said acting commissioner, Mark Kingon.

“For SARS, Tax Season 2018 was about enhancing service and operational excellence, and working smarter.  This is what we will strive to do each year,” he said.

Other results 


  • R17.9 Billion paid to more than 2 million individual taxpayers.
  • A total of 96.88% of taxpayers due for a refund that was not routed for audit or risk verification received their refund within the 7 day turnaround time as stated in the SARS Service Charter.

Assessment of returns:

  • A total of 87.02% of tax returns were assessed within 3 seconds, and 91.18% within 24 hours.

Electronic channels

  • 52.07% (2017: 50.08%) of returns filed was done through SARS eFiling compared to 47.93% filed at a branch. This shows a 2% increase in the uptake of eFiling.
  • 241,583 taxpayers used Help-You-eFile service. This shows a 14% increase in the uptake of this service compared to last year.
  • 73,663 taxpayers used the SARS Mobi App to file returns. This shows a 54.74% increase in the uptake of this channel.

Read: 5 ways government could introduce new ‘local taxes’ in South Africa

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