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SARS urges taxpayers to use e-services amid lockdown

South African Revenue Service (SARS) Commissioner Edward Kieswetter has lamented the impact of Covid-19 on revenue collection services. He has urged taxpayers to make use of their online services as the country battles an ailing economy due to Covid-19.

Kieswetter encouraged taxpayers to remain compliant during the lockdown. 

“During this time, it remains extremely important for all taxpayers to remain compliant. If there was ever a time where delivering on our mandate matters, it is now,” said Kieswetter.

The SARS boss said taxpayers must register when they are legally required to submit tax and customs declarations, returns, and relevant submissions. He also indicated that many businesses and individuals are desperately in need of refunds that are payable – which requires SARS to perform the necessary verification and assurance work and to manage the risks related to refunds.

“Our customs officials have had to ensure that the essential and legitimate PPE, medical equipment and supplies as well as other permitted cargo can be lawfully moved through our ports of entry,” said Kieswetter.

According to Kieswetter the revenue collection entity has reconfigured its work to convert more taxpayers to its digital services and modify its operations.

“I am pleased to share that our technology and data management teams have worked tirelessly and added 30 additional functionalities to our digital offering including: automated registration for PIT – almost 6 000 registrations have already taken place,”

“Notice of registration for VAT now available on e-filing, allowing VAT vendors to view, print or save their Notice of Registration – almost 5 000 have already been facilitated,” said Kieswetter.

He added and said to adhere to social distancing, taxpayers arealso urged to use the enhanced e-filing system. Non-filers can now also submit supporting documents via the web – to reduce the need to come to visit offices. To date, over 1 200 submissions have been made.

SARS has suspended the need for VAT interviews as a pre-registration requirement to post registration. In support of public health and social distancing measures, SARS introduced an online appointment system for those taxpayers and tax practitioners who remain insistent or unable to convert to digital.

“We are currently redesigning our website to enhance navigation and functionality and align it to our refreshed branding which we will launch shortly. We will announce additional enhancements as they are completed,” said Kieswetter.

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