Encouraging progress: Sars collects an additional R138 billion in revenue

Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter has Thursday afternoon announced the preliminary outcome of the revenue collected from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

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

DURBAN — The South African Revenue Service (Sars) said a slight improvement in economic conditions had seen better than expected results.

SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter has Thursday afternoon announced the preliminary outcome of the revenue collected from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

There was an additional R138 billion collected.

READ: SA economy grew by 1.5% in fourth quarter of 2020

Kieswetter said when he gave the same briefing a year ago, things were uncertain and it had become very tricky predicting economic growth.

He said the finance minister in his February 2020 Budget speech set a revenue target of R1.25 trillion, but that had to be adjusted because of the pandemic.

Kieswetter said the improving economy meant the target had to be adjusted again.

“We have reduced the October revenue estimate while under recovery from R312.8 billion as expressed in the minister’s Budget statement to R175.2 billion. This means that Sars reports an additional R138 billion as a result of the slightly improved economy."

READ: Tito Mboweni on SA Economy: There are reasons to be hopeful

He said industries like mining performed better than expected.

“Companies in the mining and financial services sectors performed better than expected as well as the pent-up trade demand from the first half of the year were caught up in the second half of the year”.

Kieswetter said it was too early to declare victory, but it was encouraged by the progress.

BE WARNED

The Revenue Service has issued a stern warning to the rich and wealthy who under-declare luxury assets.

While Sars has reported an additional R138 billion in revenue because of an improved economy, non-compliance remains a concern.

Kieswetter said the failure to declare income and taxes by the rich and wealthy remained a serious concern when it came to revenue collection.

He said Sars has started targeting those who failed to declare.

“And we have the ability to access a number of databases that can supply details of high ticket items that have been bought such as luxury cars, expensive property, and we do capital reconciliation back to the income statement.”

Kieswetter said they were aware of an increasing number of South Africans who had several assets offshore and in other jurisdictions.

He said South Africans had over R400 billion in offshore accounts.

“The fact that wealthy individuals, as I said earlier, on their statements of assets and liabilities, their lifestyle often says more about the true nature of their income than what they disclose.”

Kieswetter said the country had automatic exchange of information protocols with many of these countries.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.