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Release of Tax Statistics for 2021

Release of Tax Statistics for 2021




National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service have published the 14th annual edition of the Tax Statistics.

The 2021 edition provides an overview of tax revenue collections and tax return information for the 2017 to 2021 tax years, as well as the 2016/17 to 2020/21 fiscal years.

Revenue collections in the 2020/21 fiscal year were severely impacted on by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown restrictions and an already struggling economy that contracted by 7% in 2020. Total tax revenue collections for 2020/21 declined by 7.8% to R1 249.7 billion from the R1 355.8 billion collected in the previous year.

Key points in the 2021 edition are:

  • Total tax revenue collected by SARS increased from R1 144 billion in 2016/17 to R1 249.7 billion in 2020/21, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.2% over this period. This is significantly lower than the CAGR of 9.0% attained in the previous five-period from 2011/12 to 2016/17
    • Personal Income Tax (PIT) at 39,1%, Corporate Income Tax (CIT) at 16.4% and Value-added Tax (VAT) at 26.5%, in aggregate remain the largest sources of tax revenue and comprise 81.9% of total tax revenue collections.
    • The tax-to-GDP ratio moderated from 23.8% in 2019/20 to 22.5% in 2020/21. This was mainly due to annual reductions in the revenue collected from personal income tax, value-added tax, and domestic specific excise duties.
  • In Chapter 2: Personal income tax, geographic, demographic and other analysis of the assessments of the taxpayers who had been assessed as at the end of September 2021 for the 2020 tax year showed interesting results:
    • 2 091 559 (40.1%) of assessed taxpayers were registered in Gauteng;
    • 687 261 of assessed taxpayers lived in the Johannesburg Metro and were taxed on an average taxable income of R481 209;
    • 1 365 098 (26.2%) of assessed taxpayers were aged between 35 to 44 years;
    • 2 792 845 (53.6%) of assessed taxpayers were male; 2 420 951 (46.4%) were female;
    • Assessed taxpayers had aggregate taxable income of R1.8 trillion and a tax liability of R407.2 billion. Their average tax rate was 22.4% compared to 22.3% in the previous tax year; and.
    • Income from salaries, wages and other remuneration as well as pension, overtime and annuities accounted for 91.6% of total taxable income.
  • Statistics in Chapter 3 regarding Corporate income tax reveal that out of the 812 306 companies assessed as at September 2021 for tax year 2019, 24.0% had positive taxable income, whilst 48.3% had taxable income equal to zero and the remaining 27.7% reported an assessed loss.
  • Chapter 4 indicates that in 2020/21, 79.3% of active VAT vendors were companies or close corporations. They contributed 92.9% to Domestic VAT payments and accounted for 91.2% of VAT refunds. Although individuals (sole proprietors) comprised 15.3% of VAT vendors, they contributed 2.4% of Domestic VAT payments and received 1.2% of VAT refunds.
  • As detailed in Chapter 5, Import VAT and Customs Duties accounted for 13.3% and 3.8% respectively of the year’s total tax revenue collected; resulting in a 17.1% aggregate which was slightly below the 17.5% average over the preceding five fiscal years. The share of these taxes to GDP decreased to 3.8% from the preceding five-year average of 4.1%, with Import VAT recording 3.0% and Customs Duties at 0.8%.
  • For the 2020/21 fiscal year.
    • The largest contributing HS sections to Customs Duties in 2020/21, as shown in Figure 5.2, were Vehicles, Aircraft and Vessels (20.1%); Textiles and Clothing (19.0%); Machinery and Electronics (13.8%) as well as Food, Beverages and Tobacco (13.4%).
    • Imports under the Food, Beverages and Tobacco section made up 97.5% of the Specific Excise Duty total, largely driven by cigarettes (37.1%) sourced mainly from Switzerland; and whiskies (35.4%) imported mostly from the United Kingdom.
    • The sections of Vehicles, Aircraft and Vessels (56.7%) as well as Machinery and Electronics (38.6%) were the largest contributors to the ad valorem duty total; with 30.1% of the former’s total comprising luxury vehicles from Germany, while 63.2% of the latter’s total made up by electronic devices mainly from China.
    • The overall effective customs duty rate in 2020/21 was 2.8% compared to the 3.2% in the previous year. Key commodities with the highest effective duty rates were Footwear and Accessories at 24.5%; Hides, Skins and Leather at 19.5%; Textiles and Clothing at 14.5%; Food, Beverages and Tobacco at 9.8% as well as Vehicles, Aircraft and Vessels at 6.9%.
  • Finally, Chapter 6: Other Taxes and Collections provide information about taxes such as Capital Gains Tax (CGT), Transfer Duty, Mineral and Petroleum Resources Royalty (MPRR), Southern African Customs Union (SACU) payments and Diesel refunds. In 2020/21, CGT of R16.4 billion was raised of which R8.4 billion was attributable to individuals and trusts and R7.9 billion to companies. An aggregate of R173.1 billion has been raised since the introduction of CGT in October 2001, with R80.9 billion from individuals and trusts and R92.1 billion from companies.

The 2021 Tax Statistics documents are available on the SARS and National Treasury website at www.sars.gov.za and www.treasury.gov.za

SARS and National Treasury welcome public comments and suggestions to continue to enhance the publication’s utility in policy evaluation, and developing new insights into South Africa’s social and economic context. These can be provided via e-mail to [email protected]

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Enquiries:  SARS Media [email protected]

National Treasury Communications Unit [email protected] or call 012 315 5000

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