Big drop in tax collections in South Africa

National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) have published the annual Tax Statistics for 2021.

The 2021 edition provides an overview of tax revenue collections and tax return information for the 2017 to 2021 tax years, as well as the 2016/17 to 2020/21 fiscal years.

The data shows revenue collections in the 2020/2021 fiscal year were severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown restrictions and an already struggling economy that contracted by 7% in 2020.

Total tax revenue collections for 2020/21 declined by 7.8% to R1 249.7 billion from the R1 355.8 billion collected in the previous year.

“Personal Income Tax (PIT) at 39.1%, Corporate Income Tax (CIT) at 16.4% and Value-added Tax (VAT) at 26.5%, in aggregate remain the largest sources of tax revenue and comprise 81.9% of total tax revenue collections,” the revenue service said.

“The tax-to-GDP ratio moderated from 23.8% in 2019/20 to 22.5% in 2020/21. This was mainly due to annual reductions in the revenue collected from personal income tax, value-added tax, and domestic specific excise duties.”

Personal income tax

Personal income tax, geographic, demographic and other analysis of the assessments of the taxpayers who had been assessed as at the end of September 2021 for the 2020 tax year provides a broad overview of what the average personal income taxpayer looks like in South Africa.

  • 2,091,559 (40.1%) of assessed taxpayers were registered in Gauteng;
  • 687,261 of assessed taxpayers lived in the Johannesburg Metro and were taxed on an average taxable income of R481,209;
  • 1,365,098 (26.2%) of assessed taxpayers were aged between 35 to 44 years;
  • 2,792,845 (53.6%) of assessed taxpayers were male; 2,420,951 (46.4%) were female;
  • Assessed taxpayers had aggregate taxable income of R1.8 trillion and a tax liability of R407.2 billion. Their average tax rate was 22.4% compared to 22.3% in the previous tax year;
  • Income from salaries, wages and other remuneration as well as pension, overtime and annuities accounted for 91.6% of total taxable income.

Read: South Africa’s taxpayers are leaving in droves, but should expect changes in 2022, says expert

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Big drop in tax collections in South Africa