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Improving SARS

I read recently that we face a possible tax revenue shortfall of somewhere between R50 billion at the end of this tax year in terms of tax collected.  Probably, to some extent, this is due to South Africa’s weak economic growth, but it is also, I think, due to people cheating on tax and I recall a large number of people living at both Dainfern and Blair Atholl boasting about how they did not pay tax or did not pay the tax they should.  The other problem is that the new Commissioner of SARS, Edward Kieswetter, has taken over an organisation that has deliberately weakened during the last decade or so by the previous administration of Jacob Zuma.  Apparently, amongst other things, there is an under-staffing at SARS of about 1,000 staff.  SARS lost lots of good staff and the morale is apparently very low. 

I have always said what SARS really need to do is to start using technology in a more intelligent way. There are so many people who are living in houses that, according to their salaries or business profits, they could never afford, and that type of information would not take much effort to collect from estate agents and the like.  It would be simple to require that anytime you buy a car or a house that the seller/agent should have to file a one-page form, like they do in many countries, as to purchase price and the stated income of the buyer.  That would stop people telling SARS they earn almost nothing while telling the bank, from whom they want a loan, the real figures.  There is a lot of rebuilding that needs to be done and the sooner it is done the better because otherwise the rest of us will be facing increases in the tax we have to pay because others aren’t paying their fair share.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 09-Jan-20 Share on Facebook   Tweet It

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Comments

Bianca Taljaard  said:
on Wednesday 26-Feb-20 07:56 AM
How do you get away with not paying tax, it makes me furious. We all work hard and then there is those exceptions that just do as they please.

Ashleigh  said:
on Wednesday 12-Feb-20 04:16 PM
I dont know how people are getting away with avoiding the Tax. The tax man used to be like the maffia so I really do not know how some people have gotten away with it.

Sinead  said:
on Monday 10-Feb-20 09:18 AM
These high earners need to stop evading tax. It's a bit unfair that their money is what the country needs. SARS needs to do better with checking all the necessary information.

Cornelie  said:
on Friday 07-Feb-20 10:40 AM
There must be a system in place where you as a tax payer can’t be penalised for someone else who is not paying.

Thabitha  said:
on Friday 07-Feb-20 07:23 AM
What puzzle me though is why in life people needs to be forced to do the right thing, if you must pay why not without any noise

Prishani  said:
on Tuesday 04-Feb-20 05:53 PM
I can think of many simple ways to try and improve SARS by means of simple checks and balances! I really hope that something is done regarding to improve things in this very important area!

Lourien  said:
on Tuesday 04-Feb-20 05:13 PM
I honestly think that the short fall is due to embezzlement of funds and yes there are so many people not paying tax to SARS which also leads to less funds available and now we have bigger problems. Technology has improved so much over the years and it can certainly be used for better purposes.

patrick  said:
on Tuesday 04-Feb-20 04:58 PM
The problem is that the last leadership was busy fighting political wars and leaving behind development of Sars. As they say in political circles Sars is too big to fail. Am sure they will come around.

Melandre'  said:
on Tuesday 04-Feb-20 09:07 AM
For South-Africa to deter future revenue shortfalls a system needs to be implemented to identify individuals and businesses who evade tax as well as the large amount of those who commit tax fraud. An effective and efficient administration should be put in place to combat these shortfalls, sadly I don't foresee this anytime soon considering all the corruption within our country. However, we need to stay positive as we as a nation are still in our trans-formative phase.

Tamaryn  said:
on Friday 31-Jan-20 08:54 AM
There needs to be a better system of checks and balances where the purchaser declares his/her income not only the seller/agent but at the same time to SARS and the relevant financial institution. No offers where income is declared should be presented to the seller without SARS being notified.

Henrietta  said:
on Friday 31-Jan-20 08:48 AM
As usual people who pay always has to suffer because of those who doesn't pay. Eskom is similar, look at soweto who doesn't pay for electricity but the rest of us need to pay an arm and a leg to have electricity and make up for those who doesn't pay. They really need to work on a better approach or lose more staff.

Helen  said:
on Friday 31-Jan-20 07:06 AM
SARS is very well run government organisation, but yes not all people in SA pay their taxes. I know there is no excuse at all, but most of the people lost their trust in government spending.
We all have to pay for expensive medical care, education of our kids, pension fund ... Hope this year will be better, the life in SA becoming expensive

Joyce  said:
on Wednesday 29-Jan-20 04:42 PM
I think it would be better if people can just be honest and making no excuses, just not cheat in paying tax, just do as they are expected to do. I think it is not fair to other people who are honest in paying tax

Daniella  said:
on Wednesday 29-Jan-20 03:19 PM
I think SARS should trying looking at avenues where every time someone has a credit check done they can see whether or not based on the information they have on their side if that person can/cannot afford it and start investigations based on that.

Zindy  said:
on Wednesday 29-Jan-20 08:39 AM
TAX is a huge problem in this country. Over taxed, under taxed, No tax. They indeed do need a system where they can work more accurately and more effectively. People don't want to pay tax because they can not see where there money is going and been used.

Mathilda Du Preez  said:
on Wednesday 29-Jan-20 07:58 AM
I must say SARS e filling system is simple and convenient.

I agree that SARS will have to come up with some sort of system to indicate the true income of some people that do not pay the TAX they are suppose to.

Melissa  said:
on Wednesday 29-Jan-20 07:46 AM
Things will be so much easier if everyone can just pay their taxes like they should.

Brenda Du Toit   said:
on Wednesday 29-Jan-20 07:43 AM
People pay tax's for what reason only for the government to take all the money. There is not a lot of honest people .Let's hope for a better 2020.

Shristi  said:
on Tuesday 28-Jan-20 05:25 PM
I honestly think that SARS is one of the better run government institutions in our country, With that being said if the money that was collected was put to better use and taxpayers could see the change our hard earned money makes to the country I think more people would pay their taxes.

Clare  said:
on Monday 27-Jan-20 11:40 AM
I for one, really am pro SARS online system, the other day dealing with SARS was a day i would never want to do again, and to tell you the Truth i can not sit and wait for my number to pulled so that i am next is so trying.

Sarah  said:
on Friday 24-Jan-20 02:10 PM
SARS has been improving their system over the last few years, they have been having rough patches with the new systems. There is not a lot of honest people put their regarding their taxes, not a lot of people want to pay taxes, because of our corrupt government

Kayla  said:
on Thursday 23-Jan-20 08:52 AM
I feel that if the tax actually went to what we initially pay tax for , people would not mind paying tax. There is a great amount of your household income that goes to tax, but yet we still sit with load shedding, the roads that are not being worked on there is constantly potholes that dont get fixed they stay there for months at a time or if a sinkhole needs to be fixed it takes 3-4 years for the government to fix.

Nikita  said:
on Wednesday 22-Jan-20 11:13 AM
They always say the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I have to say that I think SARS (flaws and all) is probably one of our better run government institutions. Perhaps that is because I am an honest Tax payer.

Brumilde Cronje  said:
on Tuesday 21-Jan-20 01:41 PM
Sars has a new program that came out last year. I must say when i did my tax returns it was very simple. The problem is as mentioned above that allot of people evade TAX, that means that the government has to get it from somewhere else. So we all end up paying in any case

Alexis  said:
on Monday 20-Jan-20 09:46 AM
It would be a wonderful thing if everyone payed their tax as they should. But unfortunately, a lot of people avoid tax by being paid in cash etc SARS now has an app in order to do do your tax, but as with anything, it will take a bit of time to reach that level of technology and make sure that it does work

Angelique   said:
on Friday 17-Jan-20 12:24 PM
A lot of people would rather not pay tax if they had a connection somewhere and was able to get away with it. If our tax money was put to good use we definitely would not think of it in that manner. But I agree, SARS should focus on ways on how to VERIFY people's income particularly the ones who say they don't earn a lot but when buying homes and cars is different story.

Bronwyn  said:
on Friday 17-Jan-20 09:04 AM
Tax is a very sensitive subject in South Africa, a lot more people would be paying their tax if we actually saw that it is being put to good use.

fikile  said:
on Thursday 16-Jan-20 09:10 AM
It's hard to pay tax so that other people can just misuse the tax money. People pay tax's for what reason really lets be honest? With my understanding, paying tax is so that the can be better roads, parks, safe schools, bridge and also to help those who are going to university that the parents can't afford to pay for them university. but still the money is some how not doing half of those things but taking care of prisoners, the government and their families. I am glad that i don't pay tax because i would really be angry if i did.

sandra  said:
on Thursday 16-Jan-20 07:34 AM
This is mismanagement of funds and it is also the level of corruption that our country has been going through years. Technology will need to be updated to a first worlds country technology and not outdated tech and government also has to start getting a wake up call

Nicolle  said:
on Wednesday 15-Jan-20 06:00 PM
Technology, and, the clever use thereof, is most certainly the future. That being said, tax and the paying of tax becomes a bitter pill to swallow especially if one sees the squandering of tax-payers money.

Victoria  said:
on Tuesday 14-Jan-20 01:40 PM
I agree 100% SARS definitively needs to start using technology in a useful way. Our tax money we pay is not used for the rights things and that is just very unfair. Government really needs to come up with proper solutions to fix the issues with tax.

Michelle D  said:
on Tuesday 14-Jan-20 12:01 PM
I dislike nothing more than tax evaders, except maybe those people that brag about it. How does someone have any right to criticize the problems in this country when they are part of the problem? They must really just pay their tax, do their part, go back to their mansion in their estate and complain about it to their friends.

Dasanya  said:
on Monday 13-Jan-20 01:01 PM
Taxpayers are under extreme pressure in our country. We pay taxes on almost everything. The issue is not how much taxes we pay but how our taxes are being used and in most instances, no improvements have been made so its no wonder why many opt to avoid paying their taxes. If taxpayers knew what their money was being spent on and if improvements could be seen, it might lead to more citizens wanting to pay their taxes. Further, I do agree that technology can be a great way for SARS to collect data and it should definitely be considered in the near future.

natasha  said:
on Monday 13-Jan-20 08:38 AM
They must just start using technology everything is so advanced with technology so think it will just be better. Hopefully 2020 will turn out better.

Claudia B  said:
on Monday 13-Jan-20 08:03 AM
I would most definitely agree to start using technology more, I believe everything will work better. Let's hope for a better 2020!

Lucretia  said:
on Friday 10-Jan-20 11:02 AM
What else has Zuma messed up that we, the innocent, have to help sort out? We have all these commission of enquiries taking place but nothing valuable coming from any of them. Heads need to start rolling and maybe then the tax man will be paid out more of the money owing to them and reduce the money they are claiming as a shortfall.

Kendall  said:
on Thursday 09-Jan-20 01:24 PM
There are many people and businesses who have devised schemes to circumvent paying tax. There are lots of businesses who prefer and encourage clients to make payments in cash so that these payments are not accounted for when it comes to paying tax. It is very unfair that law abiding citizens are working hard to earn a salary and pay tax whilst others are simply getting away with paying almost no tax. In addition to paying high tax workers are not actually receiving much in return as most of the public services are inefficient or of poor quality, such as the terrible state of our roads. If everyone paid tax and it was not used for corrupt activities, we could be living in a much better country.

Ruby  said:
on Thursday 09-Jan-20 12:54 PM
This is great idea, using technology to ensure compliance. We have a long way to go with our systems working in silo's. But there is also the issue of trust. If revenue collection translates into good spending by government, people may be more willing to contribute.

Courtney  said:
on Thursday 09-Jan-20 10:02 AM
The word TAX give's all of us headaches. If everyone pay's they're bit and everything is treated fair then we would really have a happy world! Let's hope 2020 is a better year when it come's to things like this that we will be dealing with for the rest of our life's.

Bianca Niemann   said:
on Thursday 09-Jan-20 09:58 AM
I agree that there should be a standard document for when people buy cars or houses to ensure that they do not cheat and claim to earn almost nothing while actually living a good life and letting the honest people who pay for their taxes make up the shortfall. This is something that should have been resolved ages ago; but it seems the norm is that the innocent need to pay more while the guilty get away with cheating.

Karien van Zyl  said:
on Thursday 09-Jan-20 09:04 AM
In November 2019 the Financial Fiscal Commission has warned that the South African government has no room for further tax hikes. By implementing a way to identify individuals and businesses who evade tax and commit tax fraud will benefit the South African economy, but only if the tax moneys collected from these individuals and businesses are administered correctly.

Megan  said:
on Thursday 09-Jan-20 08:57 AM
I honestly don't think the government thinks the way we tax payers do. They don't care that people are not paying tax they only care that there isn't enough being paid thus which will result in us paying more. I doubt they will put much effort into finding the ones that don't pay taxes and get them to do so.

Michelle Smillie  said:
on Thursday 09-Jan-20 08:57 AM
Looking at what Ziyanda said, it seems that perhaps SARS may already be moving into a more profitable and favourable situation. Unfortunately there are a lot of restructuring and hard work needed to fix all the problems that arose during Jacob Zuma's presidency, and these things take time.

Roxanne  said:
on Thursday 09-Jan-20 08:39 AM
I don't understand the point of paying tax these days as our money is being used to line the government's pockets and not being used for what its meant for- Our roads, the pavements, everything looks disgusting but our government is living in the best houses and driving the best cars.

Ziyanda  said:
on Thursday 09-Jan-20 08:11 AM
I just read this morning that SARS no longer allows individuals to create tax numbers, only the company that has hired you can. I think this will decrease the number of people not paying their tax and those who cheat.

david  said:
on Thursday 09-Jan-20 08:00 AM
i feel, in the strongest way possible, that churches should be paying tax. why do paedophile priests, doom spraying profits, and other snake oil salesmen get tax breaks?

Clare  said:
on Thursday 09-Jan-20 07:58 AM
Well I hope that this works out its not fare that hard working people pay so much TAX well other people get money just sitting at home doing nothing because they to lazy to work. We pay TAX for things to get fixed in this country like our Roads, the Road of Jan Smuts are Full of Pot holes so I hope they get fixed soon, or else our Government should reimburse us to fix our Tyres and wheel alignment.

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Johannesburg based attorney specializing in personal injury matters including Road Accident Fund claims and medical negligence matters. My interests include golf, reading and the internet and the way it is constantly developing. I have a passion for life and a desire for less stress!
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