Record number of tax returns in 2007

More than three million tax returns were filed in the 2007 filing season, the South African Revenue Service (Sars) said on Wednesday.

Sars spokesperson Adrian Lackay said more than 2,1-million filed returns were processed and R2,3-billion was refunded to 632 000 taxpayers.

Roughly 880 000 returns are still being processed and Sars expects these will be assessed and finalised before the end of March.

Taxpayers have eight days left to submit tax returns but this can only be done electronically. Outstanding tax returns must be submitted by January 31 to avoid penalties.

To submit tax returns electronically taxpayers must register as an e-filing user at Sarsefiling.co.za before completing and submitting their returns.

More than 400 000 tax returns were submitted via the electronic filing system. This is 10 times more than were submitted electronically in the 2006 filing season and shows growing confidence in the electronic system, said Lackay.

The new income-tax return system was introduced in May 2007 and implemented in July 2007.
“These changes have laid a good platform to further simplify and improve the annual filing process,” said Lackay.

If taxpayers receive a letter from Sars, they should visit a local branch office to complete their return forms correctly. Sars will not impose a penalty on people who receive a letter for submitting late returns.

Tax refunds are not issued if mandatory information on the tax return form is missing or if data varies between Sars, banks and employers in the verification process.

Refunds are also not granted if taxpayers’ bank details are outstanding or incorrect, if taxpayers have outstanding taxes or if a tax return has been randomly selected for further auditing, said Lackay.—Sapa