Faizel Patel – 02/072021
South African Revenue Services (SARS) Commissioner says Edward Kieswetter says the decision to close physical operations at the revenue service will not complicate or slow down the tax filing process but rather speed it up.
Kieswetter was speaking to Radio Islam about the 2021 tax filing season which was launched on Thursday.
SARS also announced that its branches will be closed until the 16th of August as a precautionary measure because of the rapid spread of COVID-19.
Kieswetter says this will not affect the individual tax filing process.
“We hope that it would speed up the process for many. But early on, over the last year simply commencement of COVID 463 days ago, to build additional online functionality In fact you may remember we announced that in the first hundred days of lockdown we built about thirty applications. We have subsequently built about fifteen applications.”
Kieswetter says SARS also converted about 450,000 taxpayers onto its platform.
“It helped us to remove over four million interactions that would otherwise have been done in our branches. This is a huge thrust towards making it safer, but also it is perfectly aligned with our longer term journey towards buildings a smart data driven modelled SARS.”
Kieswetter says since he has taken office, there is been some success in rooting out corruption and improving process and compliance by tax payers.
“It’s far too early to declare victory, but I can tell you just last year we initiated five hundred investigations of our own staff. We have either dismissed or triggered the resignations of about a hundred and ten of those staff already and we’ve hadn’t successful conditions of ten.”
Kieswetter says SARS driving a significant effort on revenue focus and compliance activities to ensure an improving capability to ensure that all services of the revenue is up to standard.
Listen to the interview with Edward Kieswetter