South Africans have been urged to be sincere and truthful with the SA Revenue Service (Sars) in the 2012 tax season.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told reporters in Pretoria on Monday (02/07/2012) there would be consequences, including legal processes and penalties, for people who did not comply with their tax obligations.
"In order for government to deliver services, in order for the poor people in South Africa to benefit from taxes paid by South Africans, we are trying to generate values in our society, the right kind of values which say we must declare honestly what we earn.
"These are values of solidarity, that we need to be mindful of others as well.” The tax season is the period in which individuals and trusts must submit their income tax returns for the year. This year’s season starts on July 1.
"There are significant numbers of... people who do not quite declare honestly. Those who choose to be non-compliant must bear the brunt of enforcement, which is a crucial part of keeping social balances right in any society around us,” Gordhan said.
Tax authorities had several means to access information on anyone’s income.
"We need to send a very clear message to a percentage of South Africans. It is to your advantage if you declare properly all the income that you have had,” Gordhan said.
"Apart from employers submitting your information to Sars, they [Sars] also have other sources of getting the information. These include banks, companies and companies that service your cars.” These third party sources would continue to give Sars the advantage of matching information provided by the taxpayer.
According to Sars, about 12 million individual taxpayers contributed a total of R251.6 billion through personal tax income tax in the past year.
This amounted to 33,8 percent of the country’s total revenue collection.
Sars commissioner Oupa Magashula unveiled several technological innovations which would make this year’s filing season faster and more convenient.
"The explosion onto the market of smartphones, tablets and iPads has created a whole new generation of taxpayers who expect to do their business on the move, in the palm of their hands.
"These new ways of accessing eFiling via cellphones addresses a critical need for the majority of South Africans whose preferred, and sometimes only, way of accessing the internet is via their phones.” Magashula said taxpayers who submitted manual returns, through the post office or at Sars branches, had until September 28 to do so.
The deadline for non-provisional taxpayers who submitted their returns electronically at Sars branches or through eFiling was November 23.
Provisional taxpayers who submitted their income tax returns via eFiling had until January 31.
Sars spokesman Adrian Lackay said non-provisional taxpayers were the majority of South Africans with a single income, usually from salaries.
He described provisional taxpayers as the minority, "generally the wealthy citizens who had numerous incomes through different businesses”. - Sapa