Tax Compliance – does SARS make it more difficult?

Tax Compliance – does SARS make it more difficult?

DISCOURAGING TAX COMPLIANCE The other day I had to go to a branch of the South African Revenue Service to hand in a certified copy of my identity document. The alternative to handing the document in is normally to upload the document on e-filing. However, for some inexplicable reason, this facility was not made available to me. I stood in a queue at the SARS office waiting to state my business to the receptionist, after which I was told to take a number. A notice board in the reception area stated that the waiting time was four hours. When I queried this with the receptionist she replied “Wherever you go you have to queue”. The gentleman who handed me my number confirmed that I would indeed have to wait four hours to be attended to. Four hours to hand in a document! That’s half a day of production lost to the economy. Tax Compliance – does SARS make it more difficult? I looked at the people waiting patiently for their number to be called, there must have been at least two hundred of them, individual tax-payers, book-keepers, financial managers, tax consultants, business-people.  I marvelled at their dedication to tax compliance. Then a thought occurred to me. Why is SARS not doing more to encourage tax compliance? Why are they not making it easier for people to comply? Indeed, why are they not rewarding the compliant tax payers in this country? In the current economy our tax revenues are down, so we should be making life easier for tax payers, not more difficult. Modern times are not so modern We...

The Tax Revolt

THE TAX REVOLT  According to The Times published on 6 November, Judge Dennis Davis, who heads the Davis Tax Committee, told delegates at a recent international economic law seminar that South Africa is possibly headed for a tax revolt. The possibility of this revolt is attributed to the government’s failure to address the on-going corruption and wasteful expenditure. What does a tax revolt entail? Does it entail failure to comply with registration requirements, failure to submit returns, or just the failure to make payments that are due? The Judge reportedly merely refers to a breakdown in tax integrity. No tolerance Judge Davis is not encouraging a tax revolt, he is merely taking the temperature of South African society and making an observation. South Africans are becoming less and less tolerant of an incompetent, wasteful and corrupt government and have already had to endure an increase in personal taxes this year. The on-going e-toll saga and the university fee demonstrations (as mentioned in our blog on Financial (Mis) Management), give an indication of what we, as citizens, are capable of when we have a common goal to work towards. Financial Management as an antidote I am not a politician, or a political commentator, for that matter. However, personally, I believe in tax compliance. Taxation has been around for thousands of years, and, in all of its forms it is the most important and effective source of funding for a country. The economic implications of withholding tax payments, or failing to comply with the taxation legislation, are too disastrous to even contemplate. Hopefully, those charged with the responsibility of running this...