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Wed, 18 Oct 2017
10 things which got way more expensive in South Africa in 2017...

While cash-strapped South Africans have been hit hard by the weak economy in general, they have also been dealt a blow with a number of products seeing prices increases well above inflation.

This is according to a new StatsSA report which focused on price changes of more than the inflation rate of 6%, between August 2016 and August 2017. One of the most noticeable increases was meat, Stats SA said, which saw its annual inflation rate climb to 15% in August 2017 – the highest it has been since December 2011.

A beef fillet would have set you back R194 per kilogram, up from R173 in August last year. Over the same period the average price of a kilogram of beef mince rose by 13.2% (from R68 to R77), and the annual inflation rate for mutton loin chops was 17%.

StatsSA said that this price increase was likely due to the severe drought which impacted a large part of the country.

“When a severe drought strikes, meat prices tend to go through two distinct phases,” it said. “Initially, farmers flood the market with herds that they can no longer sustain, stabilising the price of meat (and in some cases, driving prices down).”


“This reprieve is short-lived, however. As a drought wanes and recovery begins, it takes a while for farmers to rebuild their herds. During this time, prices go up as supply is unable to meet demand.”

Apart from meat, there were three other food and drink items with prices above-target inflation in August 2017. These were sugar, sweets and desserts (8.1%), hot beverages (7.5%), and spirit coolers & ciders (8.1%).

Other notable increases include medical aid (10.3%), doctors (6.5%), dentists (6.3%) and medicines (7.2%). However, the biggest riser was package holidays (including travel and accommodation deals in South Africa) which rose by 24.4%.

According to StatsSA this steep increase is due to the fact that these prices are relatively volatile to begin with, and were based off a low base in August 2016.


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Thu, 12 Oct 2017
Over R1bn collected from SVDP and still counting

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has collected over R1 billion through the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme, which closed at the end of August.

“The Revenue Service thanks over 2 000 taxpayers who made use of the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (SVDP), which closed on 31 August 2017,” said SARS on Tuesday.

The revenue service announced that, thus far, 2018 applications have been tallied. Of this figure, 335 applications have been processed, yielding R1 016 467 286 in revenue.

“Currently the total tax liability stands at R1 182 734 842,” SARS said.

The programme offered non-compliant taxpayers a once-off opportunity during a limited window period running from 1 October 2016 to 31 August 2017 to regularise their unauthorised foreign assets and income by voluntary disclosing tax and exchange control defaults specifically in relation to offshore assets.

This SVDP was announced in the Budget Speech in 2016 to give non-compliant taxpayers the opportunity to voluntary disclose offshore assets and income.

The SVDP was offered ahead of the first automatic exchange of Information (AEOI) between tax authorities in September 2017.

The revenue service said the collected revenue provides a boost to its revenue purse in a difficult economic period and will assist the country in its socio-economic development to take South Africa forward.

“While it was not possible to anticipate the number of applications beforehand, as was demonstrated in the 2016 Budget Review, SARS is quite satisfied with the response by South African taxpayers and traders to take advantage of the SVDP.”

Applications are currently being processed by SARS VDP team of law, tax and finance experts, the outcomes of which are expected by no later than the end of the current financial year.

“Those who have not applied for offshore tax relief can still do so under the normal VDP process.

“SARS wishes to assure all South Africans that we appreciate the magnitude of our critical mandate and with your patriotic spirit of paying your taxes, our young democracy’s developmental agenda will be achieved,” it said.



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Thu, 05 Oct 2017
Over 2.7 million tax returns submitted

More than 2.7 million taxpayers have submitted their tax returns since the opening of tax season in July 2017, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) said on Tuesday.

“SARS wishes to thank all 2 794 952 taxpayers who have submitted their returns timeously. This is an increase of 3.6% compared to last year’s figure this time. As at 1pm today, SARS had already received 18 017 tax returns for this morning alone,” said the revenue service.

By Monday, SARS had paid over R62.1 billion in refunds to taxpayers. Of this amount, R49.8 billion in VAT refunds was disbursed and R12.3 billion in Personal Income Tax refunds.

The SARS contact centre to date has handled 1.69 million calls of which 324 651 have been call-back and help-you-eFile requests.

As at the start of Tax Season to date, 49.28% of taxpayers have used the SARS eFiling channel to file their returns while 50.9% filed at a branch.

Over 2.5 million taxpayers have visited a SARS branch countrywide as of 1 July 2017.

SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane also expressed appreciation to taxpayers and the team of over 14 000 SARS employees committed to providing excellent service.

“As SARS we are thankful for the level of compliance amongst taxpayers, who make it possible for the State to carry out its mandate. Also, we are proud of the passion, commitment and dedication displayed by SARS employees to provide excellent service throughout the country,” he said.

Commissioner Moyane also reminded taxpayers that efiling is the quickest and easiest method of meeting one’s tax obligation.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba launched this year’s tax season at the Orlando East branch in Soweto on 3 July. It was the first time that this was done in a township in the 20 years of SARS’ existence.

Documents for tax filing

Taxpayers, who are yet to file their returns, must have the following documents ready when visiting a branch:

Your banking particulars Your IRP5/IT3(a) certificate(s) Certificates [IT3(b)] that you received for any investment income Details of medical expenses paid by you and not covered by your medical scheme Medical aid certificate for details of medical aid contributions made that do not appear on your IRP5/IT3(a) certificate(s) Completed confirmation of diagnosis of disability form (ITR-DD), if applicable Information about your retirement annuity contributions Details of business travel (if you received a travel allowance or want to claim against a fringe benefit for an employer provided vehicle) Information about foreign tax credits withheld Financial statements, if applicable e.g. business income Any other relevant material relating to income you received or deductions you want to claim. 

Contact Centre

Taxpayers can opt to contact the SARS contact centre to resolve any tax queries or to obtain any tax information they may require, instead of travelling to a branch. The SARS contact centre can also assist taxpayers to register on efiling and submit a tax return online. The Contact Centre can be reached on 0800 00 7277.

SARS eFiling MobiSite

The SARS eFiling MobiSite allows taxpayers to file their individual Income Tax Return (ITR12) via eFiling from their mobile phone’s Internet browser. Once in the internet browser, enter the address to access the SARS eFiling MobiSite. The site is configured with software [...]

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