Sars to lock down offices for two weeks to curb spread of Covid-19

Tax offices will be closed from Thursday December 24 to Monday January 4 to slow the spread of infections among taxpayers Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Tax offices will be closed from Thursday December 24 to Monday January 4 to slow the spread of infections among taxpayers Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Image: Gallo

The SA Revenue Service (Sars) will be instituting a two-week lockdown of its offices because of concerns over the rise in Covid-19 cases.

The closure, between December 24 and January 4, is intended to curb potential infections among taxpayers and the agency’s staff, Sars said on Tuesday.

Branches will operate remotely via digital channels and existing in-branch appointments will be honoured, it said.

All new bookings made on the Sars website will be honoured by a virtual appointment via Microsoft Teams or via phone, and the Sars call centre will remain open.

All SA border posts manned by Sars customs officials will operate during the lockdown, it said, with strict social-distancing and hygiene protocols in place.

“We will review this decision and communicate in advance should we decide to extend this arrangement,” the agency said.

Last week, health minister Zweli Mkhize announced that a fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus has been detected in SA and found in hotspots in provinces such as the Eastern Cape.

The pandemic’s first wave and the nationwide lockdown earlier in the year has had a devastating effect on revenue collections, intensifying difficulties for SA’s already weak fiscus.

Tax revenues are expected to come in almost R313bn below what was forecast in the 2020 budget.

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