SARS Rolls Out Mobile Phone Tax Return Filing

In a first for revenue authorities in Africa, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced that taxpayers can now complete and file their tax returns via their mobile phones using its eFiling application.

Using the application, users can submit their individual income tax return, view their notice of assessment and see their income tax statement of account, as well as view their tax calculator.

For taxpayers to be able to submit their tax return using the SARS eFiling app, taxpayers must first register for eFiling from a computer or laptop at the SARS website. Once registered, users can then eFile from their mobile device or tablet.

Earlier in September, SARS also announced that users of e-Filing who required assistance while completing their tax returns online would be able to use the Help-You-eFile service, a new facility which allows them to be in direct contact with a SARS Call Centre agent while they complete their tax return online.

To date, SARS had received a total of over 2.9m tax returns, some 700,000 (32%) more than at the same time last year. “Over 99% of these (almost 2.9m) were filed electronically, either in SARS branches or using SARS eFiling,” SARS disclosed. “Only 5,800 were filed manually, either posted or dropped off at a SARS branch. Manual returns have dropped by 64% from the same time last year.”

The deadline for taxpayers to submit their tax returns manually was September 29, while those submitting their returns electronically at a SARS branch have until November 23, 2012. Provisional taxpayers who submit their returns via eFiling have until January 31, 2013.