The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has launched a new Help-You-eFile service, which allows eFilers to talk to a SARS call centre agent over the phone if they get stuck while completing their tax return online. Instead of going into a branch, taxpayers can permit call centre agents to access their eFiling browsing session and help them with any problems they are encountering.
The trained call centre agent will guide taxpayers through the eFiling steps and talk to them through the process to address any difficulties experienced in completing their return said SARS. Sensitive security fields, such as banking details, passwords and login are not visible to SARS’ call agents. The agent also only has view-only access and cannot enter any information on the return.
This is how it works:
• When a taxpayer clicks on the Help-You-eFile icon on their eFiling profile they will be prompted to accept the terms and conditions. They will then receive a Help-You-eFile session reference number on their eFiling profile.
• The taxpayer will then need to call the SARS contact centre on 0800 00 7277, quoting their reference number to the agent who responds.
• The agent will then launch the Help-You-eFile session and the taxpayer will receive a request asking whether the agent may connect to the session. By sharing the same information on two different computer screens, the taxpayer is allowing the SARS agent to shadow them as they complete the return and even highlight areas on their screen for additional clarity.
So far, SARS has received 2.3 million tax returns since the 2012 Tax Season opened in July. “The number of returns submitted by far exceeds SARS’s own expectations – by the same time last year 1.5 million tax returns have been submitted.
Currently, the average rate of submission per day since 1 July 2012 is over 40, 300,” said SARS in a statement.
SARS warned that as a result branches have been much longer than previous years and that across the country SARS staff help more than 20,000 taxpayers a day. Queuing times are averaging between 60 and 90 minutes but SARS pointed out that once taxpayers are with consultants it only takes around 10-12 minutes to capture returns.
• The deadline for taxpayers who submit their tax returns manually by post or by dropping it off in a SARS drop box, is 28 September 2012.
• The deadline for all taxpayers who submit their returns electronically at a SARS branch is 23 November 2012.
• Non-Provisional taxpayers who submit their returns via eFiling also have until 23 November 2012.
• Provisional taxpayers who submit their returns via eFiling have until 31 January 2013.