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eFiling system under pressure

Sars says it received 5,200 returns every hour on the first day of the 2013 tax season.

Sars says it received 5,200 returns every hour on the first day of the 2013 tax season. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Revenue Service (Sars) on Monday said it experienced problems with its e-filing system.

Officials said they did not anticipate such large volumes on the first day of the tax season.

By 5pm on Monday afternoon, 36,000 tax returns were submitted, Sars Spokesperson Adrian Lackay said.

"We had a submission rate 5,200 returns per hour."

The high level of submissions on the first day is an indication that South Africans are becoming more tax literate, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said.

On Monday morning, he officially launched the 2013 tax season in Edenvale on Gauteng's East Rand.

The minister encouraged new taxpayers to be educated about the importance of filing their returns.

The service also issued a warning to members of the public.

"Sars will never ask taxpayers for such information [as personal, banking or tax details] in an email."

In 2012, more than 5,5 million tax returns were submitted by the November deadline.

Sars is expecting more applications for the 2013 season.