The South African Revenue Service (SARS) announced its preliminary revenue collection results for the 2022/2023 financial year, posting a new record gross amount.
As of midnight 31 March 2023, SARS collected a total gross of R2,067.8 billion, with a total net collection of R1,686.7 billion after R381.1 billion in refunds.
SARS said that this was a record total gross amount, while the over R380 billion in refunds was also the largest ever paid since its formation.
The 2023 gross is an increase of 9.7% over the 2022 collection of R1,884.9 billion, with the refunds paid for 2023 also representing an increase of 18.7% from the R321.1 billion in 2022.
Overall net revenue collected for 2023 shows a 7.9% increase year-on-year (YoY) from the net 2022 amount of R1,563.8 billion.
SARS said that the net amount of R1,687 billion must be seen against the 2021/22 outcome of R1,568 billion, representing a YoY R123 billion increase.
Moreover, the achievement of R1,687 billion represents a YoY growth of 7.86% against the nominal GDP growth of roughly 5.8% or a tax buoyancy of 1.38.
In February 2023, the Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana set an additional challenge of R94 billion; against the new estimate of R1,692 billion, SARS achieved 99.7%.
Godongwana said in his 2023 Budget Speech, “Our country is reaping the benefits of a more efficient and effective tax administration, that is building trust to increase voluntary compliance and boost revenue collections.”
Growth was also recorded in all tax types.
Personal income tax (PIT) saw an 8.3% increase to R601.7 billion, company income tax (CIT) grew by 7.6% to R348.0 billion, VAT grew to R422.2 billion, which represents an 8.0% increase, while Customs and other taxes grew by 27.4% to R73.9 billion
Compliance revenue delivered R227 billion due to targeted interventions across all segments of taxpayers, growing from last year’s figure of R215.4 billion. These interventions include attentive debt collection, an emphasis on criminal and illicit activities and declaration compliance among big businesses, amongst others.
SARS also saw an increase in public sentiment, with a public opinion survey showing a growth in positivity from 71.8% in 2021/22 to 76.5% in 2022/23.
It added that it was beginning to see positive results from its newly-established High Wealth Individual unit and the reinstatement of the Large Business and International segments. The two segments brought in a collected R528.3 billion.
In addition, in 2022/2023, SARS refined its capabilities to detect and punish wilful non-compliant taxpayers. It continues to administer a permanent Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP) for individuals, companies, or trusts that aim to voluntarily declare and regularise their tax affairs.
The VDP received contributed almost R3.68 billion (0.2%) to the preliminary gross revenue outcome.
It said that load shedding is having a dire effect on the economy and revenue collection, with power cuts impacting overall profitability, constraining lives and business growth.
However, it said that the energy crisis creates new opportunities in the renewable energy sector as renewable energy-related imports increase, benefitting the fiscus.
“SARS employees, compliant taxpayers and traders, tax practitioners, citizens, as well as other stakeholders in the tax eco-system, are all nation builders as we work together towards the goal of deepening our democracy and overcoming the challenges of high levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality,” SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter said.
“The challenge may seem daunting at times, but we must continue to play this privileged role of building our nation through maximising revenue collection, facilitating legitimate trade, improving voluntary compliance and rooting out fraud and corruption, as the Father of our Nation Mr Nelson Mandela put it, “it is all in our hands”.
Read: SARS records boost for exports in South Africa
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