Tax returns

Over 6-million tax returns submitted

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Over 6-million South Africans, representing 91.5% of the country's eligible taxpayers, submitted their income tax returns for the 2013 tax season, the South African Revenue Service (Sars) reported recently. 

Of those required to submit a tax return, 91.5% did so on time, an increase of 5.5% from 2012. The total number of returns received by 22 November deadline was 7.7% higher than in 2012.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said the increase was recorded despite the threshold for submitting a return having been upped from R120 000 to R250 000, and showed the continued growth in compliance by South Africans.

"The ability to collect tax revenue from individual and corporate citizens to finance the provision of public services and the provision of socio-economic infrastructure has been one of the cornerstones of our democracy these past 20 years," he said.

Tax refunds

Revenue from individual taxpayers this year amounted to R4.7-billion, which is R1- billion (27.4%) more than the R3.69-billion collected in 2012.

Since the start of the tax season on 1 July, Sars paid refunds of R14.26-billion to 2- million taxpayers, which is R1.4-billion higher than the 2012 figure. Almost 95% of refunds were paid within 72 hours.

Seven years into the migration from manual returns to electronic submission - via eFiling or at a Sars branch office - the changeover is almost absolute, with 99.86% of all returns submitted electronically, up from 98.86% in 2012. Only 6 471 manual or paper returns were submitted this year.

Sars assisted taxpayers at branch offices to submit 2.7-million returns electronically, an increase of 6.1% from 2012.

Returns submitted on eFiling by taxpayers themselves totalled 3.3-million, 7.7% higher than in 2012.

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Issue 72