Ke nako, file it, it is here, urges Sars

THE tax return filing season has arrived, and the taxman says he will make sure that all eligible citizens submit their forms.

"Ke nako, file it, it is here," South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Oupa Magashula said yesterday during the launch of the 2010 filing season at the revamped Rissik Street branch in Johannesburg.

Magashula issued a stern warning to non-compliant taxpayers. He said there were about 3million outstanding returns in October last year, and that Sars had issued about 1million notices for non-compliance.

He warned tax evaders that after delays in implementation, Sars would approach employers or banks to garnish salaries of those who ignore notices.

The entire outstanding amount, including penalties, will be taken in a lump sum.

By mid-morning yesterday, 12 000 e-filing tax returns had been captured at an average of 3000 an hour.

Magashula said: "We want to be increasingly taxpayer- centric. E-filing is user- friendly, and the entire process should be complete in minutes.

"We have also introduced an electronic signature pad that will halve the time taxpayers spend at the counter to about four minutes."

Magashula was proud to announce that Sars had gained an extra R4billion through improved third party intelligence with better links "like with automobile service companies".

"You cannot cheat us with your mileage, for example. You cannot cheat us with medical claims. We are also looking at linking Sars directly to the Securities Exchange to make it easier to determine capital gains tax to make it difficult to evade tax."

Magashula said compliance rates have improved from 58percent in 2008 to 79percent last year.

About 93percent of tax returns last year were done through e-filing.