What’s New?

  • 20 May 2024 – The latest edition of the SARS Government Connect Newsletter (Issue 18) is now available.

  • 16 March 2023 – Deregistration of Tax Types
    View the presentation which outlines the relevant procedures to be followed when a taxpayer applies for a deregistration of a tax type.

Welcome to the Government webpage

SARS is committed to working with Government Institutions to ensure high levels of voluntary compliance. We believe in building effective and beneficial partnerships with Government by collaboration, monitoring compliance and resolving Government’s tax affairs. Our priority is to understand and enable Government as both a taxpayer and as a strategic partner in the tax compliance value chain.

SARS is therefore committed to:

Provide CLARITY and CERTAINTY for taxpayers and traders of their obligations
Make it EASY for taxpayers and traders to comply with their obligations
DETECT taxpayers and traders who do not comply and make non-compliance HARD and COSTLY.
Work with and through Stakeholders to improve the tax ecosystem.       

Here you will find the latest information and updates from SARS to assist you in meeting your tax obligations and broadening the culture of tax compliance.

The three Spheres of Government

National Government Departments – 457 institutions are responsible for maintaining internal and external security and stability of the country.

Provincial Government Departments– 296 sub-division of government, which shares political, fiscal and economic powers with the national government.

Local Government Institutions– 352 local government departments which are responsible for a range of vital services for people and businesses in demarcated areas. Municipalities are within the definition of Local Government.


All spheres of government are registered for Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

Municipalities are registered for Value-Added Tax (VAT) and PAYE.


There are 278 municipalities in South Africa, comprising of 8 metropolitans, 44 districts and 226 local municipalities. They are focused on growing local economies and providing infrastructure and service.

There are three categories of municipalities: 

  • Category A: Metropolitan municipality
  • Category B: Local Municipality
  • Category C: District Municipality

There are three spheres of Government as per the Constitution, namely:

  • National;
  • Provincial; and
  • Local.

Clarity of what a Government institution is helps to identify taxpaying institutions that form part of the system of inter-governmental relations and SARS is able to offer the correct blend of education and service products that help these institutions achieve tax compliance. The definition of a Government Institution is as follows:

  • National Government Departments per Schedule 1 of the Public Service Act;
  • Provincial Government Departments per Schedule 2 of the Public Service Act;
  • National Parliament as per Chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa;
  • Provincial Legislatures per Chapter 6 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa;
  • Local Government: Municipalities as per the Municipal Structures Act and Section 155(6) of the Constitution;
  • Municipal Entities – The Municipal Systems Act defines three types of entities that may be established by a municipality with effect from 1 August 2004 (private company, service utility or multi-jurisdictional service utility). These include Museums and Art Galleries, Community Halls, Tourism, Transport and Buses, etc.;
  • Public Entities as listed in the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA);
  • Public FET Colleges as defined in the Further Education and Training Colleges Act;
  • Universities as defined in the Higher Education Act;
  • Public Hospitals or Public Health Care Establishments as defined in the National Health Ac;
  • Public Schools as defined in Chapter 3 of the South African Schools Act;
  • Public Museums as defined in the Cultural Institutions Act; and
  • Public Pension Funds created as per the Pension Funds Act.

The Public Finance Management Act defines the accounting officer in a government institution. Section 38 of the PFMA sets out the responsibilities of the accounting officer and in section 38(e), it is mentioned that the accounting officer must comply with tax, duty or levy as may be required by legislation. The accounting officer therefore, is the representative taxpayer for a Government Institution.

This may be:
  1. The Municipal Manager in the context of Local Government;
  2. The Director General in the context of National Government
  3. The Superintendent General in the context of Provincial Government.

It is the responsibility of the accounting officer therefore to ensure that registered particulars are up to date, returns and filed and paid on time, the correct tax is being paid. The accounting officer must also ensure that:

  • The tax function is managed in an integrated manner across the institution;
  • There is maximum use of the SARS technology
  • Tax Obligations are being managed.

Government Institutions may be liable for VAT on Imported Services.

Imported services refers to the supply of services by a supplier who is not a resident of the Republic or conducts business outside the Republic, to a recipient who is a resident of the Republic, to the extent such service are utilized or consumed in the Republic, otherwise than for purposes of making taxable supplies.

In terms of section 7(1)(c) of the Act, VAT at the standard rate is payable by the recipient of imported services.

VAT is not payable on imported services where:

(i) The supply would be exempt from VAT or zero-rated if supplied in the Republic

(ii) The supply of the service is subject to VAT at the standard rate (presently 15%)

(iii) A supply is of an educational service by an educational institution established in an export country which is regulated by an educational authority in that export country

(iv) The supply is of services by an employee in the course of their employment or the rendering of services by a holder of any office to the extent that remuneration is paid or payable to such employee or holder of office

(v) The value of the imported services does not exceed R100 per invoice.

Where the recipient is not registered as a vendor, the VAT liability is declared in the VAT 215 record.

The following guides contain additional information:

LAPD–VAT–G16 – VAT FAQs Supplies of Electronic Services

VAT – ELEC-01-G01 – Manage Value Added Tax on Imported Services

VAT 215 – Record in respect of Imported Services

The following channels may be used for Government Institutions:

Connect Newsletters

  • For a complete list of the Connect Newsletters, click here.

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