Sars awaits terms of probe into tax refund processes

Tax Ombudsman Judge Bernard Ngoepe is investigating following complaints about the late payment of tax refunds.

Picture: Sars

JOHANNESBURG – The South African Revenue Service (Sars) says it's still waiting to find out the terms and conditions of the probe by Tax Ombudsman Judge Bernard Ngoepe.

Earlier this week, the finance ministry gave Ngoepe permission to investigate the processes of Sars after a series of complaints about the late payment of tax refunds.

But Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has also criticised the restructuring of Sars by its Commissioner Tom Moyane. The Finance Minister tried to order Moyane to stop restructuring process.

Sars’ Sandile Mamela says Ngoepe is the person who knows how far this investigation will go.

"He is the one who requested permission from the minister's office to launch this probe. We understand it's based on the unhappiness of some taxpayers."

Ngoepe has previously written to Moyane, saying he'd received many complaints about tax refunds being paid late.

SARS COOPERATES WITH PROBE

The revenue service has welcomed the investigation, saying it remains confident about the strength and "robustness" of its systems and processes.

"SARS is determined to ensure that our systems and processes simplify the process of meeting’s one’s tax obligations."

Sars says the current taxpayer complaints relate to VAT refunds.

"It must highlight that Sars has an obligation to ensure both service and compliance which includes complying with the legislation and ensuring that all incorrect activities are managed correctly which could include fraud. Due to an increase in fraud, Sars has had to react by tightening up our risk rules. Despite such actions, Sars has only referred 11% of cases for detailed audit. Regarding Personal Income Tax payments, 98.2% is paid within 72 hours."

Sars says it will provide all necessary assistance with the probe.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)