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SA tax revenues jump 10 percent in 2013/14

The government increased tax rebates for lower-income brackets in 2013 to encourage more people to pay tax.

FILE: Sars says growth in domestic VATpayments remains constrained by high consumer debt. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's tax revenues jumped by 10.6 percent in the 2013/2014 fiscal year, helped by more people paying income tax due in part to tax changes, data showed on Tuesday.

Revenue from value-added tax rose more slowly, by 8.7 percent, curbed by the effects of a sluggish economy.

"Growth in domestic VAT [value-added tax] payments remains constrained by high consumer debt, modest job creation, low consumer confidence and little real growth in disposable income," South Africa's Revenue Services (Sars) said in a statement.

Tax revenues as a whole totalled R900 billion for the year ending March 2014, up R86.2 billion on the year and with personal income tax accounting for 34.5 percent of that increase.

The government increased tax rebates for lower-income brackets in 2013 to encourage more people to pay tax.

The number of individuals registered for income tax as of 31 March 2014 had increased by 1.4 million from a year earlier to 16.8 million, the data from Sars showed.

South Africa is considered a middle-income economy and the continent's most advanced, but has cut its growth forecasts consistently this year after avoiding a technical recession in the second quarter.

It now expects economic growth of 1.4 percent for 2014, well below its desired medium-term growth levels of 5 percent.

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said on 22 October that the Treasury would look to raise tax revenues over the next two years in order to narrow the country's budget deficit, which it forecasts at 4.1 percent of gross domestic product for 2014/15.

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