Sars reveals increase in tax returns

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) says that 6.09 million income tax returns were submitted for the 2013 Tax Season, up 7.7% from 2012.

This, the collection body said, means that 91.5% of taxpayers who were eligible to submit a tax return this year did so on-time – an increase of 5.5% from 2012.

Payments from taxpayers this year amounted to R4.7 billion which is R1 billion (27.4%) more than the R3.69 billion paid in 2012.

Since the start of the Tax Season on 1 July 2013, refunds of R14.26 billion were paid to 2 million taxpayers, which is R1.4 billion higher than the 2012 figure, Sars said.

The total number of returns received by the deadline of 22 November 2013 is 7.7% higher than in 2012, despite the fact the threshold to submit a tax return was substantially increased by the Minister of Finance in the 2013 Budget.

Effectively, the threshold adjustment removed the administrative obligation for thousands of taxpayers to submit a return if they earned income below R250,000 a year and did not submit any claims for a tax refund.

“The growth in the number of tax returns filed ,despite an increase in the threshold for submitting a return from R120,000 to R250,000, shows the continued growth in tax compliance by fellow South Africans,” Minister of Finance, Mr Pravin Gordhan, said.

e-Filing

Sars said that 99.86% of all returns were submitted electronically (98.86% in 2012), with only 6,471 manual or paper returns submitted in 2013.

Returns submitted on eFiling by taxpayers themselves totalled 3.3 million.

Administrative penalties

Sars said it also received 1.55 million outstanding returns from previous years which is 13.3% (182,000) higher than the 1.4 million outstanding returns, submitted by the 2012 deadline.

Of the 1.55 million outstanding returns received from previous years, defaulting taxpayers paid Sars a total of R674 million in penalties.

On 31 March 2013, there were 15.3 million individuals who were registered for Personal Income Tax. Although almost nine  million were likely to have earned less than the tax threshold they also contributed to revenue collection, through consumption taxes like VAT.

Fraud

Sars, working with the SAPS in combating fraud, has arrested 38 individuals who are alleged to have submitted fraudulent claims for tax refunds.

“The cases are at various stages of criminal prosecution before the courts. SARS is in the process of recovering about R29.2 million that have been fraudulently claimed as tax refunds,” the revenue service said.

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Sars reveals increase in tax returns