The ACDP welcomes steps taken by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to improve the service delivered to taxpayers with the release of the Service Charter which outlines taxpayers’ rights and responsibilities as well as service standards they can expect from the agency.

ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley today said that, “It is important for the public to know what they can expect from SARS, and the ACDP encourages taxpayers to familiarise themselves with the charter in order to know - not only their responsibilities but also their rights”.

The charter sets out obligations such as making sure declarations are correct, that returns are filed timeously and honestly and that fictitious deductions are not claimed.

In turn SARS promises the South African public that the agency will be professional, courteous and treat taxpayers with “utmost respect.”

“The ACDP commends SARS on the efforts being made to improve services in a manner that does not take the taxpayer for granted, knowing it is the continued diligence of every taxpayer that ensures those depending on services are not disappointed”, Dudley says.

SARS is appealing to taxpayers and tax practitioners to use e-filing rather than going into physical branches. People can make use of the contact centre if they need an agent to help them with e-filing.

Dudley pointed out that, “People earning less than R350 000 per year from a single source of income with no allowances like travel are NOT required to file tax returns. It is only in your interests to do so if you have retirement annuities or excessive medical costs and therefore expect a refund”.

SARS is reminding taxpayers that refunds will only be released if the taxpayer is not facing audits from previous years but VAT refunds will be released despite having audits on previous periods.

“The SARS promise to be more specific about the documents required from taxpayers who are being audited, instead of requiring more documents than necessary is welcomed as a good starting point. At the same time the ACDP notes SARS’ warning that they will be tougher on taxpayers who file late submissions and will initiate processes to prosecute offenders.  The ACDP acknowledges that compliance is for the good of the country and a culture of compliance is encouraged when penalties are in place.  Extenuating circumstances, however, must be carefully considered.

“The ACDP calls on SARS to focus on tracking down illicit operations including tobacco, fuel, alcohol and trafficking of people.”

The tax filing season will conclude on October 31 for provisional taxpayers (those who earn an income other than a salary such as rental income) who opt to file at physical branches and non-provisional taxpayers (all other taxpayers).

Provisional taxpayers using e-filing have until January 31, 2019 to file their returns. SARS has to collect R1.345-trillion.

3 July 2018