People still waiting for tax rebates

By Staff Writer
Many people are still waiting to receive their tax rebates, despite having sent in their tax returns well on time, explained Marc Sevitz, the co-founder of TaxTim.
 
When asked why people were still waiting, Sevitz said that there was no definitive answer to that, but did explain what some of the issues might be.
 
"There is a three stage process once you submit your returns, if you get requested for verification or for audit, you supply the documents and then it takes 30 days to audit you. And then if they are happy they will send you a completion letter. After that they might decide to do a second audit. And that is another 30 to 60 days. And then after that they can do a full audit which can take three to six months," explained Sevitz.
 
Rebates
 
However, Sevitz explained that another reason why people are late in receiving their rebates has to do with a lack of communication within South African Revenue Service (SARS).
 
"The issues that people are facing are that SARS is saying that the refund needs to be released from different departments, or that there is a block on certain accounts. And then what else is happening is that payments are being released, and then another department is saying 'hold on, we need to do a further audit' and so they block the payment," said Sevitz.
 
Sevitz feels that the main reason why rebates are not being paid quickly has to do with incorrect bank details.
 
"Tax payer's bank account details need to be updated, but they are not receiving the correspondence from SARS. They [SARS] are supposed to issue you with a letter telling you that your bank details are wrong and you need to bring X, Y or Z into SARS and people are not getting that," said Sevitz.
 
Sevitz went on to explain that people receive SMSs from SARS about important messages, but cannot open them online.
 
"You get a famous SMS from SARS saying that an import letter or message is waiting for you, and you need to log in here. But you know that you can't log in on Chrome; you can only log in on Internet Explorer [to view the message]," said Sevitz.
 
SARS shake up
 
However, despite the reports that SARS might "implode" due to a reshuffling of senior officials, Sevitz doesn't believe this has anything to do with the delay in payments of rebates.
 
"I don't think the shakeup is causing this necessarily. I do think that SARSs mandate is to collect as much revenue as possible. I am not saying that they are specifically withholding refunds for that purpose, but it does appear to me that there are extra audits taking place. And that is natural. SARS is being very meticulous. And that is leading to a delay," said Sevitz.
 
Sevitz said that all the problems boil down to the "left hand not talking to the right hand."
 
Tips
 
Sevitz advises people to call the SARS call centre [0800 00 7277] to find out why there are delays with their rebates.
 
Always have your tax number or reference number at hand when you call through.
 
"They should be able to tell you what the holdup is. But what the problem sometimes is that they [the call centre] don't always have all the information, or they are not always allowed to see all the information," said Sevitz.
 
If you have called the call centre before, make sure you have your case number with you as well.
Sevitz said that people need to be patient, and that the repayments will come.
 
*By the time of publication SARS had not responded to Justmoney's requests for comment.

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