Sars tax tally nears 1 million
Cape Town – Close to 1 million taxpayers have already filed their tax returns, barely two weeks after Sars kicked off its tax filing season.
Sars kicked off its tax seaon with the tagline: "Everyone can be good at tax."
Over half a million of these submissions were submitted through e-filing.
According to Sars spokesperson Adrian Lackay, Sars had received 815 178 income tax returns for the 2012 tax season by the close of business on Tuesday, almost double the 499 597 returns submitted in the corresponding period last year.
On Tuesday alone, 61 064 taxpayers submitted their returns, "one of the highest submission figures per day since the tax season opened on 1 July", said Lackay.
He said the taxman is anticipating the 1 million mark of submitted returns "sometime this week", much earlier than the corresponding period last year.
"Sars is very encouraged by the urge of taxpayers to submit their returns much earlier this year.
"E-filing is proving to be a phenomenal success and its popularity as a convenient and secure method of submitting tax returns continues to grow," said Lackay, adding that of the total number of submissions, 522 229 were submitted through e-filing.
For the period 2 to 17 July 2012, Sars branch offices across the country assisted 289 327 taxpayers in submitting their returns, "also done electronically in the presence of the taxpayer". To date, Sars has also received 3 622 manual returns.
Lackay said an unintended result of the higher submission rate this year has been longer queues and longer waiting periods at branch offices.
"Sars is monitoring the situation at branches daily – particularly complaints by taxpayers relating to service and waiting times.
"Our staff often go to extraordinary lengths to try and assist taxpayers, which frequently requires assisting taxpayers after office hours.
According to Lackay, Sars offices around the country close at 16:00 daily, "but our staff will attempt to help taxpayers who have already been in a queue at the time of closing".