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SARS Reports Solid Growth In E-Filing Service Users

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

15 September 2003


The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has seen an encouraging take up of its new online tax return system, with users increasing 12% since the facility began operating in July of this year.

It is thought that one of the main reasons behind the growing popularity of the new e-fling scheme is that SARS is offering the service free of charge to tax payers. Under the previous system, five designated providers in the private sector charged taxpayers in order to file returns electronically on their behalf.

However, in order ensure that service levels remain unchanged, SARS has retained two of the service providers, MyTax and Tax Breaks. The firms have formed a separate entity known as Interfile, which will manage the new system in return for a fee, according to Martin Nangoro, Assistant General Manager of Business Systems at the Revenue Service, who spoke to AllAfrica.com.

Nangoro revealed that SARS came to the decision to repackage the service and offer it at no cost after studying e-filing systems in other countries. Officials quickly came to the conclusion that services run by the tax authorities themselves offered the best solution.

At present the system is fairly limited in scope, offering just VAT, PAYE and Provisional Tax Returns, and is orientated more towards the business user, due to the relatively low rate of internet usage elsewhere in the taxpayer base. Whilst Nangoro says the tax authority intends to expand the service in the near future, there are no plans in place yet to offer the service to individual taxpayers due to a perceived lack of demand.


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