Complaints about SARS jumped 32% – with one taxpayer refunded R7.2m after the ombud intervened

The Office of the Tax Ombud has seen a 32% increase in the number of complaints about the SA Revenue Service, the ombud said in its annual report for the past year.

The office received 4,822 new complaints, with almost half of the complaints relating to service failings. Some 24% of the complaints were related to administrative issues, while 22% were about procedures.

Some 63% of the complaints came from Gauteng, followed by the Western Cape (15%).

The top 10 tax refunds paid to taxpayers through the intervention of the Office of the Tax Ombud collectively exceeded R35m, with biggest VAT refund to a single taxpayer amounting to R7.2m.

More than 2 000 complaints were finalised, with SARS taking more than 91 days to finalise the ombud’s recommendations with 808 of these complaints.

"South Africa is yet to see a Taxpayer Bill of Rights, something that this Office has been advocating for since its establishment in 2013," says the tax ombud Bernard Ngoepe.

"Although we take some consolation from the fact that SARS issued its Service Charter in July 2018, outlining taxpayers’ rights and responsibilities and the service standards they can expect and must demand from the revenue collector; this is not enough. What we believe is needed is a comprehensive Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, which we would like to see being published as soon as possible."

Ngoepe urge SARS, National Treasury, parliamentarians and other stakeholders to ensure that it becomes a reality.

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