Record number of tax returns submitted

24 July 2012

More than a million tax returns have been submitted since the start of tax season on 1 July, the South African Revenue Service (Sars) said on Monday.

It had received a record number of 1 001 162 income tax returns for the 2012 tax season by 7.30am on Monday, 22 days after filing season opened.

Sars said it took five weeks to reach the one-million mark last year.

“For the corresponding period last year, Sars had received 681 497 tax returns. By 7.30am on Monday, 319 665 more returns had been submitted compared to the same period last year,” Sars said in a statement.

This was a 62% increase.

The highest number of submissions – 82 225 – was on 2 July, when Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced the start of tax season.

Sars said the higher rate of submissions and faster processing of tax returns had enabled it to pay over R3-billion in refunds to 501 096 taxpayers in 22 days.

“This is a significant, direct injection into the domestic economy and household incomes. This is in comparison to refunding 323 197 taxpayers to the value of almost R2-billion in the previous tax season.”

There had been a strong migration to electronic filing via branches or eFiling.

Only 3 796 returns had been manually submitted, a decrease of 32% from last year.

A total of 620 564 returns had been submitted via eFiling, which was 32% higher than the same period last year.

New systems were being tested including filing through tablets and smartphones. The deadline for manual submissions is 28 September, and 23 November for electronic submissions.