Cape Town – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) said on Monday it will cooperate with an inquiry into its administration and governance, announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday.
The tax authority was reacting to the president’s announcement of a commission of inquiry during the State of the Nation Address last week.
Ramaphosa said the commission, requested by the finance minister, would ensure that the credibility of SARS is restored, as well as its capacity to meet revenue targets.
“We must understand that tax morality is dependent on an implicit contract between taxpayers and government that state spending provides value for money and is free from corruption,” said Ramaphosa during his address.
In a statement SARS said it is "committed to its role as an efficient and effective tax authority that collects revenue to support government's developmental agenda".
“True to this commitment, SARS will cooperate fully with the inquiry as soon as the terms of reference are finalised and received from the Presidency or National Treasury.”
The tax authority said the inquiry would assist its employees and leadership in identifying areas which require improvement.
“Added to that, the inquiry will assist SARS to clarifying a number of misconstrued issues including dispelling the perception and continued negative media narrative that has the potential to dent the legitimacy of the organisation.”
SARS commissioner Tom Moyane has repeatedly defended the tax body's capacity, saying he has a competent team.
The revenue service also said the next six weeks will be “critical” as it will try to surpass the R1.214trn revenue target set in the mini budget.
SARS annual tax statistics, released last year, showed that revenue for the 2016/17 year came to R1.144trn. This was up 6.9% from the year before.
Treasury, meanwhile, is estimating a revenue shortfall of R50.8bn, which has raised expectations that the finance minister will need to hike taxes during his budget on Wednesday.
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