Pretoria, Thursday 26 March 2020 – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is fully aligned and supportive to the overall Containment Strategy of Government, in response the COVID-19 pandemic. SARS is also sensitive to the economic distress and anxiety that is likely to result during this unchartered and unprecedented phenomenon.
As part of the containment strategy, the stringent 21-day lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa is a severe but necessary move to curb the spread of the virus, and flatten the curve of new infections.
SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said: “We express our social solidarity with all infected and affected individuals, including taxpayers, businesses traders, who have been, and continue to be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“We wish to reassure them that SARS remains committed to providing the necessary services necessary for government to continue receiving the necessary tax revenues that fund the provision of public goods and services, whilst ensuring that the much needed refunds flow to taxpayers already experiencing hardship. Even during this trying time, as part of our strategic objective, we will continue to provide certainty and make it easy for taxpayers and traders to interact with SARS,” the Commissioner said. “I am sure that honest taxpayers would also like the assurance that during this time, our tax and customs laws remain in force to prevent fraudulent and criminal abuse of the tax system” he added.
“SARS remains critical for our country’s current and future economic and social development. In terms of the regulations governing the lockdown, SARS has been declared an essential service, which is vital to ensure” that the short-term and long-term economic effects of the COVID pandemic are mitigated as far as possible,” Commissioner Kieswetter further stated.
Taking into account the devastating economic impact of this pandemic, the President also announced a number of measures to help tax compliant companies in distress and their affected employees, especially Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) which SARS will have to administer over the short term.
The SARS Commissioner concluded by saying that: “However, as a responsible and caring employer, SARS also wants to ensure the wellbeing and protection of its employees and their families, while giving effect to the measures announced by the President. Therefore, in order to protect our employees and their families, SARS will minimize face-to-face contact and exposure by putting in place a range of service options that taxpayers and traders can use to engage with SARS during the lockdown.”
Taxpayers and traders are required to use online services such as eFiling, the SARS MobiApp and [email protected] Some of the services available on eFiling include debt queries, payments to SARS, enquiries regarding outstanding returns, tax compliance status (applications for TCS), notice of registration (IT150), filing returns, and username retrieval and password reset.
In addition, taxpayers may also call the SARS Contact Centre (0800 00 7277). As an absolute exception, taxpayers who have exhausted our online services and Contact Centre may book an appointment at a SARS branch. Until further notice, SARS will only serve taxpayers at our offices by appointment. Taxpayers who have a confirmed appointment will be issued with a confirmation notice, which together with their personal identity, they will be able to use in terms of travel restriction provisions in order to obtain this essential service.
For the complete list of service options, click here.
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