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TAX NEWS - 2010

South Africa Tax: Most South Africans filing tax online

Most South Africans are filing their tax returns online, the SA Revenue Service said at the launch of the 2010/11 tax season on Thursday.

"Ninety-three percent of all submissions received in the 2009/10 tax year [have] been received electronically," said Sars commissioner Oupa Magashula in a speech prepared for delivery in Johannesburg.

"[This saw] a spectacular reduction in the processing time of returns from an average of about 55 working days in 2006 to an average of just 1.8 working days last year with 96% of returns processed within 24 hours."

Magashula also said more and more people were complying with tax regulations. "Sars recorded an increase in taxpayers filing their returns on time from 58% in 2008/9 to 79% in 2009/10. Voluntary compliance grew by 21% year on year."

From Thursday, taxpayers can request and submit their income tax returns to Sars. Taxpayers can file returns electronically or at Sars branches, in person of via the post.

This year, the case tracking system has been improved whereby contact centre and branch staff can see the full history of a case. "Taxpayers themselves can get the same information in real time that our call centre agents have access to."

Among other changes, a system whereby people filing online can use electronic signature pads has also been introduced. "This both enhances the security of the system and saves Sars and the environment from having to print over one million copies of income tax returns of at least two pages. "That's a lot of trees saved!"

The electronic filing system has also been converted to Adobe Flash. "[This] massively reduces the time taken to request a return or to retrieve a saved return."

The deadline for postal submission is 30 September 2010. The deadline for electronic submissions  for non-provisional taxpayers and trusts is 26 November 2021 and for provisional taxpayers and trusts 31 January 2011.
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