Sars or smars?

Jul 19 2012 15:25

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e-filing with a smartphone?

MyFin24 is a user-generated section of Fin24.com. The stories here come from users.

Fin24 user Razzo writes:

Earlier this month Sars (the South African Revenue Service) kicked off Tax Filing season with the tagline "Now everyone can be good at tax".

Wow, I couldn't wait to file my return as I believe all these contributions help shape this beautiful country. I do it religiously every year as soon as that notification email from Sars hits my email inbox.

However, all my attempts at being a good taxpayer were scuppered by the incompetence at Sars. I have all the case numbers and Sars employees' names to prove that – from the call centre to the branch to and fro.

Still, today I have an incomplete return. As I know it and also after feedback from fellow taxpayers, e-filing is supposed to be extremely convenient.

You actually don't need to physically get up and visit your nearest Sars branch. They are even going to allow an application on your smartphone soon.

But all this is not true. My experience with e-filing and Sars' service has left a bitter taste in my mouth. e-filing doesn't allow for multi-document upload and the reason for this I was given sounds ludicrous.

I was first told my PC isn't compatible. Then I was told I won't be able to do it due to only single documents allowed and the best one, I need an extra link.

Is this the quality of training given to the employees of the department we must trust or that we must put our trust in?

As days went by since my first attempt to get it right, my costs accumulated... transport, airtime, refreshments, time wasted, etc. I'm beginning to think I need to see a psychologist for dealing with the stress I have accumulated in dealing with Sars.

Is Sars going to reimburse me? I think not. 

Please help as I am about to lose my faith in the one government department I thought got it all right.

Sars spokesperson Adrian Lackay responds:

The confidentiality provisions contained in Section 4 of the Income Tax Act prevent Sars from publicly discussing taxpayer information.

That said, Sars does not tolerate poor service to taxpayers. Our experience, however, has been that taxpayers at times may make some technical errors when using a system like e-filing.

Since it has been brought to our attention, we have referred the matter to our operations division to establish the merits of the complaint, and to establish why the taxpayer has not been properly assisted either at the branch office or the Sars call centre.

It is important that, as in this case, taxpayers retain reference numbers as this enables Sars to track the engagement between the taxpayer and a Sars official. Sars will look into the complaint and contact the taxpayer.

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sars  |  tax



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