This is who is paying South Africa’s taxes

The South African Revenue Services has announced its preliminary revenue outcome for 2019/2020, with the group once again announcing a deficit.

In total, SARS collected a gross amount of R1.6 trillion, which was offset by refunds of R291.9 billion, resulting in net collections of R1.35 trillion.

This represents growth of R68.2 billion (5.3%) against the 2018/19 financial year, the revenue collector said.

While these are preliminary results which will be subject to detailed financial reconciliation and a final audit, SARS noted that there has been growing shift towards Personal Income Tax (PIT) as a source of revenue.

SARS noted that the main sources of revenue that contributed to the R1.35 trillion collected were:

  • Personal Income Tax (PIT) contributed R528.9 billion (39%);
  • Value-Added Tax (VAT) contributing R346.6 billion (25.6%);
  • Company Income Tax (CIT), contributed R214.7 billion (15.8%);
  • Customs duties contributed R55.4 billion (4.1%).

“The relative contribution of the main taxes to total tax revenue has shifted with an ever-increasing dependence on personal income tax revenue mainly due to tax policy changes,” SARS said.

“PIT remains the largest contributor to total tax revenue and its contribution has increased to 39.0% in 2019/20 from 38.4% the prior year, mainly due to partial fiscal drag relief.”

It noted that the contribution of VAT and import duties continue to decrease mainly due to weak economic growth with lower consumer and investment spending in the economy.

In addition, the Company Income Tax (CIT) contribution to total revenue has declined over the past years, decreasing to 15.8% in 2019/20 due to low business profits and weak economic growth.


Personal Income Tax

South Africa’s annual tax statistics published at the end of 2019 also provides interesting data on who is paying South Africa’s Personal Income Tax.

SARS’ data shows that:

  • 2,680,449 (54.5%) of assessed taxpayers were male taxpayers; 2,236,580 (45.5%) were female;
  • 1,342,511 (27.3%) of assessed taxpayers were aged 35 to 44 years; and
  • 1,976,674 (40.2%) of assessed taxpayers were registered in Gauteng, of which 636,460 lived in the Johannesburg Metro and were taxed on an average taxable income of R446,838.

This graph shows how income tax collection looks distributed geographically:

This graph shows how income tax collection is distributed between males and females:

This graph shows how income tax collection is distributed across broad income groups:

This table shows how income tax collection is distributed across narrow income groups:


Read: It’s time to change the way our VAT system works – tax expert

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This is who is paying South Africa’s taxes