SARS refund complaints are valid

05 September 2017 - 08:04 By Linda Ensor
Public watchdog: Tax Ombudsman Judge Bernard Ngoepe has urged SARS to terminate a number of mechanisms that the tax authority uses to delay the payment of tax refunds.
Public watchdog: Tax Ombudsman Judge Bernard Ngoepe has urged SARS to terminate a number of mechanisms that the tax authority uses to delay the payment of tax refunds.
Image: SOWETAN

The investigation by Tax Ombud Judge Bernard Ngoepe into the alleged delayed payment by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) of VAT refunds has found the complaints are justified.

The report identified several mechanisms that SARS has used to delay the payment of tax refunds and has further urged the tax authority to terminate them while at the same time acknowledging that these methods had been employed to combat fraud in some instances.

"It is clear that the system allows for SARS to unduly delay the payment of verified refunds to taxpayers in certain circumstances. This has become a systemic issue.

"The system does not sufficiently protect taxpayers. The removal of the obstacles would go a long way towards addressing the problem‚" the judge said in his conclusion.

Judge Ngoepe’s investigation was prompted by the sharp increase in the number of complaints by taxpayers.

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