The great trek by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) to e-services, including the newly unveiled automated assessment, is not only motivated by efficiency in revenue collection, but will also deal with, and shame, rogues.
According to Sars, the system will "name and shame those convicted for criminal offenses. While we are passionate to make it easy for taxpayers to comply, we are equally focused to step up our ability to detect non-compliance on all fronts".
From 1 April to 17 July, Sars seized illegal cigarettes worth R77.7 million, up from R15.05 million for the same period last year. Unveiling the system this week, Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter said the modernisation programme was anchored on the obligation to make it easier for millions of taxpayers to fulfil their obligations, present a credible threat and act against negligent and crooked taxpayers.
"The continuous enhancement of our digital and online offerings remain an important plank on which we rely to improve our service," Kieswetter said this week.
Also read: Tax return season is upon us… but Sars has done most of the work
The auto-assessment system is set to migrate over three million taxpayers for participation and promises to provide at least eight out of every 10 taxpayers with an assessment outcome in under three seconds. The system also commits to pay at least seven out of every 10 taxpayers their refund if its due within 72 hours, conclude seven out of every 10 audits and issue letters for late and outstanding returns and impose penalties as prescribed in law immediately after the closing dates.
The automated assessment will rely on providers of third party information such financial institutions, retirement funds and providers of medical insurance, population register, companies register, national vehicle register and other asset registers.
Auto-assessment SMS notices will be sent out to about 3.1 million individual taxpayers who may choose to accept the assessment outcome done on their behalf and, if they accept the result, can simply submit their pre-populated return on the MobiApp or e-filing platform.
Thamsanqa Msiza, head of Individual Tax Returns at Tax Consulting South Africa, advised that each taxpayer should ensure to validate their auto-prepared assessment information.
"Each taxpayer needs to validate their auto-prepared tax return with the information they received from third parties before accepting the assessment," Msiza said. He said this was important especially for those taxpayers with more complex returns such as travel allowance claims
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