SARS to close branches in early July as Covid-19 cases surge

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  • The South African Revenue Service said it needed to respond appropriately to the rise in Covid-19 cases to prevent any further spread of the virus.
  • SARS said the filing of tax returns physically at branches is expected to begin on 16 August 2021.
  • The seven-day moving average for positive Covid-19 cases surpassed the 12 000 mark with 17 493 cases and 166 reported deaths by Thursday.



The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced that it will close its branches from the beginning of July and rely on its digital platforms to serve South African taxpayers due to the rise in Covid-19 infections during the third wave of the pandemic.

This comes as the seven-day moving average for positive Covid-19 cases surpassed the 12 000 mark. On Thursday alone, 17 493 positive cases and 166 deaths were reported.

The ongoing process of administering vaccines entered a new phase this past week, with those between the ages of 50 and 59 as well as teachers and other essential service workers expected to receive vaccines.

SARS said in a statement on Friday that while it remains an essential service during the pandemic, it needs to respond appropriately to the rise in Covid-19 cases to prevent any further spread of the virus. 

"With the rising case numbers and the onset of the third wave peak of the pandemic, we have decided to close our tax branches temporarily for physical visits as from Thursday 01 July 2021.

"We are able to do so because the SARS digital platforms, as demonstrated during the peak of the second wave, allows taxpayers to continue to fulfil their obligations online," SARS said.

The agency said the filing of tax returns physically at branches filing will not begin next Thursday. It initially planned to commence physical branch visits on 16 August. However, this will be reviewed regularly.

"Taxpayers are advised not to come to a SARS branch. The branches will be closed until an announcement is made confirming the reopening date," the statement said.

SARS said taxpayers requiring assistance with filing online could receive help telephonically and all customs ports of entry remained open for frontline customs operations, barring face-to-face client engagement other than for clearance and inspections.      

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