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Kieswetter: It’s too soon to tell if new mechanisms will save Sars

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the service to readjust the way it designs and develops its systems.

 South African Revenue Service (Sars) Commissioner Edward Kieswetter. Picture: @sarstax/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Edward Kieswetter said it was too early to say whether new mechanisms in place this year, will save the revenue service after years of corruption.

Two years ago, the Nugent commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance at Sars made several damning recommendations, which included criminal prosecution, cancelling contracts and recovering wasteful expenditure.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the service to readjust the way it designs and develops its systems.

Sars has warned the impact of the lockdown won't only result in a decline in tax collection this year - but will also have a long-term knock-on effect.

Kieswetter said the attempt to restore Sars to its former glory will be a long process: “The state of Sars has been significantly affected and it’s going to be a hard-long journey to rebuild Sars. We will work hard.”

Kieswetter said this year, the revenue service would come down harder than ever before on companies that are not tax-compliant to make sure they're prosecuted.

The commissioner also said Sars would not hesitate to push for prosecution where companies failed to comply: “Quite a number of employers can expect to be prosecuted for non-compliance. We’ve let ourselves down in the past by not being hard enough on employers.”

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