Tax refund delays the exception, not the norm - SARS

Cape Town - The South African Revenue Service (SARS) on Monday said it was “unfortunate’ that Tax Ombud Judge Bernard Ngoepe had concluded in a report that delayed payments to taxpayers by SARS was a “systemic issue”. 

In a report released on Monday, Ngoepe said it was clear that the system SARS uses allows it to unduly delay the payment of verified refunds to taxpayers in certain circumstances. 

“This has become a systemic issue. The system does not sufficiently protect taxpayers,” he said. “The removal of the obstacles discussed in the report, as well as any others, would go a long way towards addressing the problem,” he added. 

In a media statement released later on Monday, SARS stated that Ngoepe’s findings were made in relation to less than 1% of all the refunds that SARS processes. 

“It is unfortunate that the Tax Ombud has arrived at the conclusion that the obstacles are systemic in their nature, as they are the exception rather than the rule,” stated SARS.   

“To date, SARS has implemented certain corrective measures, and is committed to continue to do so in order to close the gaps identified in the Tax Ombud’s report.”

Meanwhile, DA finance spokesperson Alf Lees said Ngoepe’s findings were confirmation of the party’s assertions that SARS was deliberately delaying tax refunds.

“We shall introduce amendments to relevant legislation that will ensure that refunds are paid out without delay in line with the Tax Ombud’s report,” he said in a statement. 

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