The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has noted the dissatisfaction expressed by some taxpayers over technical glitches encountered while trying to submit returns.
SARS acknowledged that while many taxpayers have experienced a smooth service, some may have experienced difficulties with logging in, not receiving one-time pins, the inability to upload supporting documents, data issues impacting filing, including assessments and tax calculator results.
“SARS takes these issues very seriously, and all efforts have been made to resolve them expeditiously and minimise the impact on compliant taxpayers, who want to fulfil their filing obligations,” SARS said in a statement on Tuesday.
SARS has apologised for the inconvenience to the affected taxpayers.
To date, SARS has had more than six million logins, almost 1.3 million returns requested, and over one million returns submitted, of which 913 474 are for the 2019 tax year.
By 29 July 2019, SARS had paid R5.4 billion, with an average turn-around of seven days for taxpayers that had not been selected for audits, and 21 days for those selected for audits.
SARS has reiterated that when it opened the latest Filing Season on 1 July 2019, predominantly for electronic filing via its eFiling and Mobile Application platforms, the purpose was to make things easier for taxpayers.
“In our endeavour to ensure a smooth service, while maintaining cyber security protocols and staying abreast of technology, various changes were introduced this tax filing season for taxpayer’s convenience,” SARS said.
These changes include the following:
New security protocols:
- Use of one time pins to ensure secure login.
- User profile and portfolio clean-up.
- Structured security questions with client known data.
- Use of supported internet browsers, like Google Chrome and the phasing out of non-supported browsers such as Internet Explorer.
Introduction of HTML5 technology:
- To replace the outdated ADOBE forms technology, which most browsers are closing down.
- Cater for visually impaired clients via software compatibility.
- Ease of use using browser and keyboard controls.
An all new MobiApp:
- Caters for the full submission cycle, including audit and payments.
- Uploading supporting documents.
- Includes a chat bot, Lwazi that can be interacted with to provide answers to Filing Season and Tax related questions.
- Call Centre interaction with call back capability.
- Self Service Username and Password functionality.
- eFiling registration capability.
Newly refreshed eFiling site:
- New navigation functionality that puts more power in the hands of the user, for example, requirements like ‘forgotten username’ and ‘password reset’.
- Portfolio management and profile clean-up.
- Redesigned and dynamic Tax Risk Engine that drives specific supporting document requests.
- An efficient Case Selection Engine that matches and pre-populates third party data on tax returns.
- Legal changes, as introduced on an annual basis.
- Enhanced co-browsing to enable SARS call centre agents, to assist and guide taxpayers with return completion.
SARS said the process for taxpayers below the income threshold — which was increased to R500 000, with income from one employer and no other deductions — who still want to submit returns, was further enhanced to allow seamless submission by presenting a simulated tax calculation based on pre-populated third party, which could simply be accepted.