SARS issues last-minute tax deadline warning for South Africans

 ·27 Mar 2024

As the tax revenue financial year draws to a close this week, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) notified taxpayers to settle their tax payments and debts by the end of this week.

SARS has labelled March a priority month for taxpayers and traders to settle their tax and customs payments and tax and customs debt on or before the last business day of this month, which is Thursday (28 March 2024).

SARS said tax payments can be made via a bank, electronic funds transfer (EFT), eFiling or the SARS MobiApp Customs payments can also be made at any SARS customs office.

“It is important that taxpayers and traders perform the payment transaction during business hours to authorise their banking institutions to release the payment to SARS – a required step if the payment is made via eFiling and the MobiApp.”

“Balance amount enquiries may be made by requesting a statement of account on eFiling or the SARS MobiApp or by SMS to SARS on 47277,” the revenue service said.

Tough times for the taxman

SARS is under pressure to boost tax collection in 2024 as the country faces a major budget deficit and little room to close the gap through new revenue sources.

With a weak performance by South Africa’s economy resulting in a sharp deterioration in tax revenue collection for 2023/24, the government has proposed tax measures to alleviate immediate fiscal pressure and support faster debt stabilisation.

At the 2024 National Budget Speech, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said at R1.73 trillion, tax revenue for 2023/24 is R56.1 billion lower than estimated in the 2023 Budget.

The budget contained tax measures to raise R15 billion in 2024/25 to alleviate immediate fiscal pressure and support faster debt stabilisation.

Revenue is mostly raised through personal income tax by not adjusting the tax brackets, rebates and medical tax credits for inflation.

Among the caveats, PWC noted import VAT had been negatively affected by challenges in transporting goods into the country amid Transnet’s woes, with it expected to decline 5.4% y-o-y.

Logistics challenges at ports also weighed on customs duties, which are expected to be roughly R5 billion less than the R8 billion forecasted in the MTBPS.

PwC said, alongside import VAT, customs duty collections have been weighed down by a drop in renewable energy investment amid China’s own export troubles at the end of last year.

“Anecdotal evidence showed that by October last year, demand for solar power installations –
and associated imports from China – were down 70%-80% compared to earlier in 2023,” PwC said.

In November 2023, vessels carrying more than 100,000 inbound containers – an estimated R7 billion worth of goods – were stuck outside the ports at Durban, Ngqura and Gqeberha due to inefficiencies across these ports.

As a result, total imports dropped to R149.9 billion – a 9.0% year-on-year decline, with customs duties down 10.0%.

Read: This is the average salary in South Africa right now

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