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SARS Launches Ground-Breaking E-File Service

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

07 September 2012

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced that the Help-You-eFile service, which provides additional help for taxpayers using e-Filing, has gone live.

From September 3, e-Filing users can use the new facility which allows them to be in direct contact with a SARS call centre agent while they complete their tax return online. With permission from the taxpayer, the facility enables the call centre agent to access the taxpayer's eFiling browsing session at the same time as the taxpayer.

When clicking on the Help-You-eFile icon on their eFiling profile a taxpayer will be prompted to accept its terms and conditions. They will then receive a Help-You-eFile session reference number on their eFiling profile.

Sensitive information such as the taxpayer's banking details, password and login are not visible to the SARS contact centre agents, but, by sharing all other information, the taxpayer is allowing the SARS agent to shadow them as they complete the return and even highlight areas on their screen for additional clarity. The taxpayer also benefits by being able to call on the support and advice of SARS staff without having to visit a branch.

It was said that "this is the first time any revenue service around the world has instituted such a system and SARS is proud to be at the forefront of such technological advancements".

To date SARS has received 2.3m tax returns since the 2012 Tax Season commenced at the beginning of July. This has exceeded SARS's expectations as, at the same time last year, only 1.5m tax returns had been submitted.

TAGS: individuals | South Africa | compliance | tax | tax compliance | internet | individual income tax | Africa

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