Newcastle, 6 November 2015 – SARS Commissioner, Mr Tom Moyane officially opened the Newcastle branch, in KwaZulu-Natal today. 
According to Commissioner Moyane: “This new branch marks the 53rd SARS branch in South Africa and is further proof of our commitment to serve taxpayers, wherever they may be located. At SARS, we are wholeheartedly committed to expanding our service footprint throughout the country. Our goal is to make it as easy and convenient as possible for taxpayers to interact with us”. 
It is envisaged that this new SARS branch will service the entire 6 910 km² area that constitutes the Amajuba district municipality (which includes Newcastle, Emadlangeni and Dannhauser). The town of Newcastle serves as the regional centre for most of the economic development taking place within the district and hosts a variety of well-developed economic sectors.
“There was a definite need for SARS to service this town and its surrounds. Newcastle has somewhat become the national textile capital of South Africa, with an estimated 65% of all the country’s textile manufacturing headquartered in the surrounding industrial areas, including the country’s largest producer of school wear,” added Commissioner Moyane.
SARS has estimated that Newcastle and surrounding towns have approximately 288 108 registered income taxpayers, of which 83 748 are registered for eFiling. The town of Newcastle in particular (including rural surrounding areas) has 94 936 registered income taxpayers, of which 30 833 are registered for e-filing. The potential coverage area around Newcastle also includes Ladysmith, Glencoe, Dundee, Utrecht, Memel, Volksrust.
“Given the amount of taxpayers and businesses in this area, it was a natural and logical decision to expand the SARS presence here. If you want to visit SARS, citizens of the town and indeed the district municipality no longer need to travel to Pietermaritzburg and Standerton. We are ready and able to assist you,” noted Commissioner Moyane. 
The official opening of the branch follows the operational opening on 19 October 2015. The subsequent three week period has allowed SARS to test systems and processes to ensure that any necessary refinements were made ahead the official opening. An impressive 2028 taxpayers were serviced between 19 and 23 October 2015, the first week operational week.
This branch will also feature dedicated Small Business Desks aimed at servicing the small business owner. Information packs of small business material as well as specialised service will be offered at the Small Business Desks, providing a one-stop shop for those with small business queries. Small business queries such as business registrations, requests for tax clearance certificates and general business tax issues will be dealt with at these desks.