New SARS technology to go after tax-dodging South Africans

 ·3 Feb 2020

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced a major tech shake-up as it focuses on data-driven insights, self-learning computers, and artificial intelligence.

SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said that the new focus follows an extensive consultation campaign with staff which has redefined the tax collector’s strategic objectives.

This has created a need for a high-level internal and external recruitment drive to attract talented professionals and executives to bring the business up to speed with advances in big data and artificial intelligence in the tax and customs environment, he said.

He added that the organisation is in the process of modernising its systems to provide digital and streamlined services and rebuild public trust and confidence in the tax and customs administration.

“We cannot ignore the power of a data and technology-enabled organisation, and the impact it will have on the future world of work,” said Kieswetter.

“We can, however, prepare for it by consciously and actively managing the interplay between human effort and artificial intelligence.”

As a result of these changes, SARS has advertised strategic leadership positions to attract talented executives to fill a number of roles. These include:

  • Chief data scientist;
  • Chief technology innovation officer;
  • Chief financial officer;
  • Chief procurement officer;
  • Director Business Segment: Large & International Taxpayers (formerly Large Business Centre);
  • Director Individual Segment: Wealthy & Complex Taxpayers;
  • Director: Taxpayer Engagement;
  • 9 regional directors.

“This recruitment process will reaffirm SARS’ commitment to the transformation agenda of our country and the advancement of employment equity and diversity in the workplace,” said Kieswetter.

“We cannot simply talk about the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is upon us, and we must redouble our efforts to future proof ourselves by building an intelligent organisation that will provide world-class service to compliant taxpayers, but equally detect those who are non-compliant and make it costly and hard for them.”

Read: Thousands of South Africans to feel bite of new expat tax

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