The South African Revenue Service (SARS) on Wednesday rejected media reports alleging the eFiling system is on the verge of collapse.
This followed testimony by SARS executives at the Commission of Inquiry into Tax Administration and Governance earlier in the day.
“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. 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 (i.e. availability) at a rate of 99.7%.”
The revenue service, which is about to wrap up the 2018 tax season, stated that 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.
SARS clarified concerns expressed by its executives testifying at the SARS Commission of Inquiry, centring on 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.”
The revenue service encouraged taxpayers to continue using the eFiling channel at http://www.sarsefiling.co.za/ and submit returns before the 31 October 2018 deadline.
Meanwhile, SARS has also extended its operating hours to Saturday mornings to assist taxpayers in filing their personal income tax returns.
Taxpayers also have the option of using Help-You-eFile – an online functionality on the taxpayer’s eFiling profile which connects taxpayers to a SARS tax agent who can co-browse and assist with the completion of the ITR12 (tax return) form electronically.
All branches will also be open on Saturday mornings with self-help kiosks available for eFiling.
SARS added that it is committed to providing the best service to taxpayers.
“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.”
The eFiling platform was launched originally in 2001 via third-party companies, then expanded and taken in-house by the revenue service in 2006.