Pretoria – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has welcomed an investigation into its systems by the Office of the Tax Ombud.
“The South African Revenue Service can confirm that the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mcebisi Jonas, has informed SARS that permission has been granted to the Office of the Tax Ombud to investigate SARS systems,” SARS said in a statement on Monday.
The revenue service said it fully supports the investigation and that given the recent narrative about the issue of refunds, it is confident that the results of this investigation will provide the South African public with the requisite confidence in SARS systems.
“The Office of the Tax Ombud and the Ministry of Finance can be assured of full cooperation from SARS during the investigation. It is in the interest of SARS and the public to finally find closure and finality to this issue,” it said
SARS said it remains confident about the robustness of its systems and processes.
“In fact, SARS is determined to ensure that our systems and processes simplify the process of meeting one’s tax obligations. Much of the current taxpayer complaints pertain to VAT refunds.
“It must be highlighted that SARS has an obligation to ensure both service and compliance, which includes complying with the legislation and ensuring that all incorrect activities are managed correctly, which could include fraud,” said the revenue service.
Due to an increase in fraud, SARS has had to react by tightening up its risk rules. Despite such actions, SARS has only referred 11% of cases for detailed audit. About 98.2% of Personal Income Tax payments are done within 72 hours.
The revenue service said it looks forward to cooperating with the Tax Ombud and providing any assistance going forward.