Interventions by the Office of the Tax Ombud (OTO) in the 2017/18 financial year saw about R450 million in tax refunds paid to the first top ten taxpayers, the OTO said on Tuesday.
For the financial year, the OTO said, the SA Revenue Services (Sars) had implemented over 99% of recommendations made by the Tax Ombud, Judge Bernard Ngoepe.
The OTO made the revelations as it presented its 2017/18 Annual Report at The Protea Fire & Ice Hotel, in Pretoria.
Judge Ngoepe told the more than 100 delegates in attendance at the event that complaints were for Value Added Tax (VAT) and Corporate Income Tax (CIT). The highest refund paid was R158 million in VAT. This was followed by R90 million, also in VAT.
He added that the organisation has experienced a significance increase in the number of contacts from 670 in the 2013/14 financial year, to over 17 000 in the 2017/18 financial year.
“We are pleased with how we have been able to help promote fairness in the country’s tax administration system and we look forward to working with other stakeholders not to just promote and protect the rights of taxpayers but also promote tax compliance,” Ngoepe said.
“This office has helped resolve thousands of taxpayers’ complaints against the revenue collector in the past five years but there is still much that needs to be done. “We have already brought about positive changes in the Tax Administration Act which have given us powers to investigate systemic issues and more independence from SARS, amongst others.”
The OTO said it would continue to travel across the country informing taxpayers about its services.
“We are also working closely with our government through the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC), which is assisting in developing a business case for a cost-effective and independent organisational model,” the Judge said.
The launch of the report coincided with the OTO’s fifth anniversary since establishment.
Judge Ngoepe said the OTO was committed to helping ensure balance between Sars’ powers and duties, on the one hand, and taxpayer rights and obligations on the other.
Source: South African Government News Agency