The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has reached another milestone in transforming tax administration in South Africa to world class standards. On Friday the 17th of December 1999, SARS successfully introduced the New Income Tax System (NITS) in all its offices.
With the successful introduction of NITS, we can now confidently announce that we have made it much harder for tax evaders to escape the tax net. Currently, the system can process electronic refunds, and can interface with SA Company Registration Office (SACRO), Securemail for cheque refunds, Paragon external printer, and pension funds for tax directives. In the next three months, the system will interface with the credit bureau, Deeds Office, and will have a internet-based interface for extensions.
The successful implementation of NITS will bring about several changes in the way SARS conducts its business. Firstly, the new system will dramatically improve SARS ability to effectively carry out its mandate of maximizing revenue collection and will introduce an improved level of efficiency in its collection department. This in turn will improve cash flow for the National Government.
Secondly, NITS will drastically improve SARS service levels. Taxpayers and their representatives will soon enjoy a better service from SARS. The system was specifically designed to improve the turnaround time when processing any transaction including assessments and refunds.
Finally, the control within NITS will improve tax administration and ensure better compliance by all taxpayers. By its very stringent nature, NITS will significantly broaden the tax base by closing all the loopholes that might have existed in the previous system. Tightening and streamlining the tax collection system was one of our strategic objectives behind the development of the new system.
Because of the follow-ups generated from the old system, a special task team has since been established to bring these to finality. This special task team will operate between now and the end March. To those taxpayers whose tax affairs are not in order, this is the time to visit your local SARS office.
For the next few weeks, SARS will go through a learning curve. It will take a couple of weeks for it to settle and run smoothly. Once the system has stabilised, its impact as relates to resource savings, additional revenue and improved taxpayer service will be significant and to the benefit of all.
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE