SARS surpasses tax collection target

By Drum Digital
01 April 2014

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says Sars has collected R899.7 billion the past financial year, surpassing its target of R899bn.

The SA Revenue Service (Sars) has collected R899.7 billion the past financial year, surpassing its target of R899bn, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Tuesday.

"It's noteworthy that on the last day [of the fiscal year], 31st March, R29bn had to be collected," he told reporters in Johannesburg.

"It was only at about eight o'clock last evening that it became clear that we passed... 899 and the extra money flowed in soon thereafter."

Last year, Sars collected R814.1bn, R85.6bn less compared to this year. The R899.7bn collected was a net figure, with over R1 trillion collected and R191.2bn paid back in refunds. Given the preliminary target had been reached, government would be able to meet its four percent deficit target.

"The fiscal impact of this is... We meet the target of the four percent deficit we had set for the financial year of 2013/14, which is excellent," Gordhan said.

"Because in a difficult and volatile economic environment, if we can achieve our revenue target and, more importantly, meet our deficit target, it puts less pressure on us in terms of the overall fiscal management of the economy, but also in terms of debt management as well."

The extra amount collected above the target did not necessarily translate into extra money being available for expenditure, he said. It gave government an opportunity to consolidate its fiscal position, reducing the amount needing to be borrowed.

"Most of the taxes have performed extremely well," he said.

The three main contributors to revenue collection over the past fiscal year were personal income tax (PIT), corporate income tax (CIT), and value-added tax (VAT).

A total of R310.5bn in PIT was collected, compared to R276.7bn last year.

CIT accounted for R179.9bn this year, and R160.9bn last year.

VAT accounted for R237.7bn of revenue collected this year, R1.6bn (-0.7 percent) below Sars's revised estimate.

Another contributing factor to increased revenue was Sars making considerable efforts in curtailing VAT fraud, cleaning up the VAT register, and improving risk profiling.

Revenue collection this year benefited from the international community's greater effort, together with Sars's participation, in ensuring transparency of tax information and the automatic exchange of information. This would continue to benefit tax collection.

"Importantly, there is greater efforts going into detecting tax loopholes as a result of the global co-operation as well."

Gordhan said Sars had done extremely well to meet its collection target.

"These sort of tax collection achievements in the face of both global uncertainty and a largely inadequate growth level within the South African economy is good performance," he said.

"But ultimately it's better growth and better employment numbers in South Africa that will give us more revenue and therefore more opportunities to do two things."

These were to spend more on the "right things in South Africa", and tackle the amount of borrowing that took place in trying to mitigate the impact of the 2009 global recession.


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