A radically transformed revenue-collection system was envisaged by commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (Sars) Pravin Gordhan on Wednesday.
Explaining the changes that Sars is implementing this year, Gordhan told Parliament's finance committee that this year employers would be able to use Sars's own payroll software, which will involve a simplified process, and a form (EMP501) that will allow them to do their own reconciliations of deductions and IRP5 forms.
"Reconciliations will need to increase in frequency over the next few years," he told the committee. An annual account is all that is necessary this year, but next year the reconciliation will have to be done every six months, and from 2010 it will be every quarter.
"Eventually," he said, "we shall move to real-time reconciliation, though I don't think many of us will be around to see it."
However, by 2012, he reckoned the tax filing system would have become so automated that the tax could be assessed and paid and refunds automatically transferred into taxpayers' bank accounts without filling in a form at all.
For individual taxpayers, no tax return form will be sent in the post this year. Instead a letter will be sent asking individual taxpayer to request a tax form if they need one. "It is a bold move," Gordhan said. "It is a culture shift, so we will be as sensitive as possible to public reaction."
full story from M&G here