With 18 000 tax returns filed by 10:30 am, the SARS website was temporarily shut down owing to the unexpected large volumes.
When the 2013 tax season for employees opened on 1 July, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and SARS Commissioner Oupa Magashula took to the streets to raise awareness to taxpayers on why they needed to pay tax, how easy it is to file their taxes and how the government uses the public purse responsibly.
Unfortunately, the efiling process had to be halted temporarily as the website couldn’t cope with the number of people wishing to file their tax returns online.
More people filing than ever before
Gordhan said in the 2012 tax season, 5.66 million people submitted their tax returns on time – which was a 16.4% improvement from 2011 – and that the outstanding 1.4 million returns from the previous year had also been submitted.
Gordhan said SARS had set its revenue collection target to R898 billion for the 2013 tax season – which is a 9% target increase on average compared to previous years. Government expenditure currently stands at just over R1 trillion.
“The more tax we can collect, the less we have to have to borrow, and the more we will get to build houses and invest in infrastructure.
Tax return deadlines
The deadline for taxpayers who submit their returns manually by post or by dropping them off at a SARS drop box is 27 September 2013.
Non-provisional taxpayers – those who submit a tax return and earn and income from one or more employer – have until 22 November 2013 to submit their returns.
For the provisional taxpayers – who form a smaller segment of the tax base and are individuals with other forms of income like investments, income from business activities, rental income, royalties or from company directorships, must file their returns by 31 January 2014.