The South African Revenue Service (SARS) tabled its Annual Report in Parliament today.
Included in the Annual Report are the Auditor-General's (AG) findings where unqualified audit opinions were expressed by the AG on both SARS' Administered Revenue and Own Accounts.
It is the first time since being granted administrative autonomy in 1997 that the AG expressed an unqualified opinion on Administered Revenue. In 2003 SARS received an unqualified opinion in respect of its Own Accounts.
SARS is now compliant with Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (GAAP) in preparing financial statements for its "own accounts" - i.e. SARS' expenditure budget.
SARS is now also compliant with Generally Recommended Accounting Practice in respect of Administered Revenue - i.e. the monies it collects from the public.
An unqualified audit opinion means that SARS was successful in preparing financial statements that are reliable, that SARS management maintained effective internal controls and that SARS complies with the provisions of applicable laws and regulations.
The AG found that SARS' reporting mechanisms and internal controls are in accordance with prescribed accounting practice and are in line with the requirements of the Public Finance Management Act. SARS welcomes the AG's findings as it serve as further evidence of SARS' unprecedented focus and commitment to good corporate governance in the way the administration is managed.
The AG found that the financial statements "fairly represents in all material respects, the financial position of SARS" as at March 2004 although attention was drawn to five aspects of Administered Revenue.
These findings come at the time when Finance Minister Trevor Manuel called on senior managers in the public service to guard against poor management of public resources. SARS believes that if management practically demonstrates a commitment to its mission and objectives, achieving stretched targets and change, become manageable.
SARS still has to address many legacy challenges. We will continue to focus [on] and overcome these challenges systematically over the forthcoming years.
SARS would like to extend its appreciation to all its staff who have worked tirelessly in the past year to ensure that we continue to improve how the organisation functions, to defend the fiscus and to contribute to government's overall service delivery programmes.
The SARS Annual Report 2004 is available on www.sars.gov.za
For more information please contact Sechaba Nkosi at (012) 422 5046 or 082 465 2901
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE