Only 6 million people in SA pay tax

Of the more than 15 million individuals registered on the SA Revenue Service‘s personal income tax register, just over six million paid into the fiscus, Sars said on Monday (21 October).

Briefing the media in Cape Town at the launch of the 2013 Tax Statistics document, Sars head of revenue analysis Randall Carolissen said there were 15.4 million individuals registered in the 2012/13 fiscal year.

“If you were to dis-aggregate that [figure] into active contributors to the fiscus, then roughly 6.1 million of those people contribute.

“The other nine million, either they are not employed, or they are below the tax threshold,” he said.

According to the document, during the 2012 tax year, “of the 5,881,019 taxpayers liable to submit returns, 5,108,207 (86.9%) have been assessed”.

Of those assessed, 40.1% were registered in Gauteng, 27.5% were in the 33-to-44 age group, and 56.4% were male.

“The assessed taxpayers had aggregated taxable income of R1.0 trillion and a tax liability of R206.7 billion.”

This translated into an average tax rate of 20.2%.

“Income from salaries, wages and remuneration, pension, overtime and annuities accounted for 79% of total taxable income.

The largest allowance received by employed individuals (31.5% of the total allowances assessed) was the travel allowance – a total of R26.1 billion.

“Medical aid paid on behalf of employees was the largest fringe benefit at R38 billion. This was 76.9% of the total fringe benefits assessed.

Medical expenses and contributions to retirement funding constituted the largest deductions – R41.7 billion.

Carolissen said although close to nine million individuals had earned less than the tax threshold, “they also contributed to collections, through consumption and other taxes, during the 2012/13 fiscal year”.

He said taxpayers with “simple tax affairs” and a taxable income below R120,000 were not required to submit a tax return to Sars during the 2012/13 tax year.

“The PAYE paid across by their employers constituted their final liability for the year.”
Carolissen said it was not only individuals in formal employment who were on the PIT register.

“Individuals with other forms of income earned, such as interest or rent, are also required to be registered [for tax].”

They were also included in the 15.4 million total figure, he said.

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Only 6 million people in SA pay tax