SARS demand for R1,24 cheque payment infuriates taxpayer

2014-07-15 00:00

ONE rand and 24 cents.

That’s how much Piet van der Merwe, director of City Computer Bureau, a company that processes tax payments for clients, was told to pay the taxman on behalf of a client.

He was told he either had to pay by cheque or do an electronic funds transfer (EFT) payment.

An irritated Van der Merwe said: “I went to the South African Revenue Service [SARS] on Monday last week to make a payment for one of our clients and they took the cheque and stamped the receipt.”

He said SARS only processed the payment the next day, which meant his client owed R1,24 in interest.

“I queried this and I was told that for payments to be processed they have to be made before 12 noon, but their website does not have this information,” he said.

Van der Merwe said he decided to pay the R1,24 in cash to avoid more interest, but SARS refused it, saying he would have to either pay the amount by cheque or EFT payment because SARS does not accept cash.

This was frustrating because it would cost him more to make a cheque for R1,24, he said.

“It was a joke and they were wasting time and money.”

Van der Merwe said at one time they actually took time to write to another client saying he had overpaid SARS by one cent.

“Imagine that. When people take time to write a letter and post it simply because of one cent, it made me laugh because they could have given that one cent to charity,” he said.

SARS deputy spokesperson Marika Muller said their branches have not accepted cash payments for some time, and all tax practitioners would be aware of this.

“This is with the safety of taxpayers and SARS staff in mind, as well as ensuring the probity and integrity of SARS systems and staff,” said Muller.

She said this rule is not one that can be waived — no matter the payment amount.

“The same applies to the time limitations for when payments must be made.”

After discussing the matter with SARS, Van der Merwe said the R1,24 was eventually written off.

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