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SARS Kicks Off E-Filing Initiative For South African Taxpayers

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

11 May 2006


The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced that for the first time, some 2.7 million individual taxpayers will be able to submit their tax returns through the internet from next month.

The launch is the first phase of a plan by SARS to eventually extend the electronic submission facility to all individuals and businesses.

This initiative to further improve the service offered to individual and business taxpayers by SARS extends the free “e-filing” service being used by increasing numbers of businesses to submit their VAT, PAYE, UIF, SDL, provisional tax returns and payments.

The new service will be available to individuals who earn a basic salary and allowances such as medical aid and travel from June 1, 2006.

"The electronic facility will have a range of benefits to taxpayers which includes, among other things, convenience and accuracy with the submission and capturing of personal information," the tax office announced on Tuesday.

In addition, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel officially launched the tax filing season for 2006 this week.

SARS says that this year it will issue 5.3 million income tax returns to individuals, businesses and trusts that are required by law to submit a return and declare all income to the tax office.

SARS also says that it will endeavour to achieve a number of service targets this year in accordance with its Service Charter commitments to taxpayers, announced by the tax office last year.

Under these commitments, SARS pledges to: process and assess 80% of correctly completed and signed Income Tax Returns within 90 working days during peak periods (July to February); process and assess correctly completed and signed Income Tax Returns within 34 working days from the date of receipt in off-peak periods (March to June); and pay refunds due to the taxpayer within 30 working days from the date of notification of the assessment outcome.


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