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Tax Authority Hard at Work

SARS has recently set out new goals for significant changes in how they conduct business – and they are on track to hit nearly every mark! Their latest performance report highlighted that the tax authority reached and exceeded the strategic objectives of almost all of their nine targets.

While making tax laws and obligations clearer for taxpayers has been its least successful change, it is something SARS will continue to work on. SARS has also shared that in order for them to improve, they will endeavour to increase ICT investment and gain more public trust.

SARS is Being the Change!

SARS has been on a mission to rebuild integrity, credibility and performance. With the latest performance report, it is evident that this revenue service has made significant strides over the past three years to modernise and improve voluntary income tax compliance, making it more difficult and costly for South Africans to avoid paying taxes.

To achieve this, SARS initially set out nine objectives to develop and manage a tax system where people voluntarily follow the rules and, when necessary, be penalised for not doing so.


Provide taxpayers and traders with confidence in their tax obligation.

After completing a survey on taxpayers’ satisfaction with the clarity of the guidance offered by SARS, they found that the percentage of individuals satisfied was 69.06%. These segments have shown a significant increase in clarity and certainty over the last two years and are estimated to rise as SARS prioritises taxpayer awareness and education. However, there is still a -7.94% deviation from their initial goal.


Improve ease to maintain tax compliance.

There has been a significant increase in taxpayers utilising digital platforms, with a total of 7.6 million interactions – comprising 7.1 million digital. This indicates that most taxpayers and traders are using digital platforms to communicate with SARS. This is attributed to their ability to use data for accurate automatic assessments.


Improve efforts again non-compliance.

SARS has created a more sophisticated system to identify taxpayers who are not complying with the law. The new system is called an automated risk engine. It has correctly identified more than 98% of the compliance risks during its assessment period, creating a +3.48% deviation from its target.


Encourage a high-performing workforce.

SARS has been less focused on administrative tasks and more analytical and service orientated. As a result, SARS is now viewed as a desirable workplace, especially for new graduates.


Expand and improve the use of data.

SARS is now using data profiling and assessment to automatically detect risk, regardless of how complex the situation may be. Standard matters have seen a +19.97% deviation from their target, whilst complex matters have shown a +6.94% increase – proving a clear expansion of data usage.


Embrace modernisation and online systems.

SARS initially outlined a planned capacity of 100% for the availability of digital systems for taxpayers and traders. This target was only nearly missed with a deviation of -0.17%.


Implement effective resource stewardship.

SARS has realigned its expenditure on information and communication technology (ICT) with that of other countries. The initial investment change outlined a target of 2.00%, which unfortunately saw a deviation of -2.54%.


Develop the tax ecosystem with stakeholders.

SARS is determined to adhere to international standards. To meet this, this tax authority has kept all its promises in regard to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).


Increase public trust and confidence.

SARS believes that the public trusts it to handle the country’s tax system responsibly, fairly, and without bias. They have highlighted that they strive to always act with integrity and maintain the highest ethical standards. Their survey highlighted a -3.20% deviation from their 75% target.

While goals are being consistently met, they have not forgotten to innovate new ones to keep to their mission. Their latest goal, set as a vision for 2024, is to build a smart and modern institution with unquestionable integrity.

The tax professionals at MMS Group are familiar with the various SARS administration processes and have the necessary skill to assist you with maintaining income tax compliance. For advice on your tax matters, please contact us for assistance.