SARS sets the record straight about eFiling

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SARS says taxpayers must continue using eFiling to submit tax returns before the 31 October deadline.
SARS says taxpayers must continue using eFiling to submit tax returns before the 31 October deadline.

The South African Revenue Services (SARS) says its eFiling system is "stable and performing well within specification".

This comes after reports surfaced this week that the eFiling system is on the "verge of collapse" following the testimonies of SARS executives at the Commission of Inquiry into tax administration and governance by the revenue service.

The perception created that the eFiling system is on the verge of collapse is incorrect, and unfortunately has the effect of creating unnecessary alarm and uncertainty, says the SARS statement.

"SARS would like to assure taxpayers that the SARS eFiling system is stable and performing well within specification, as evidenced by the system's uptime (availability) at a rate of 99.7%. Already 3.3 million tax returns have been filed with 50.4% of these via eFiling. The platform has handled an average traffic volume of 25 000 tax returns daily.

"The concern expressed by SARS executives testifying at the SARS Commission of Enquiry, centred around the compatibility of eFiling and Web browsers toward the year 2020 timeframe. This concern is associated to a future risk and not a reflection on the current capacity, functionality or stability of SARS' systems.

"The eFiling system continues to be SARS' premier preferred filing channel and has been capacitated to process high transaction volumes. SARS would like to encourage taxpayers to continue using the eFiling channel and submit returns before the 31 October 2018 deadline."

SARS' online personal income tax system was introduced more than a decade ago. Although eFiling has gained popularity over the years, the majority of South African taxpayers still prefer the manual processes to submitting personal income tax statements.

"As SARS, we are committed to providing the best service to taxpayers and understand that world-class technology supports this. This includes ensuring that our digital infrastructure and technology receives the required updates and upgrades. We are confident in the digital and technology enhancements we have in place and those we have planned for the future to remain on par with industry best practice."

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