Happy birthday SARS!

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THE South African Revenue Service will mark its 20th anniversary during the month of October, with celebrations taking place at its branches throughout the country under the theme “At Your Service”.  

“The 2017 national celebrations pay tribute to the efforts that have been made by parliament, government, SARS leadership and, especially, its employees towards establishing a revenue collection agency that has grown to be one of the best on the African continent and the whole world,” SARS announced in a media statement yesterday.

Over the last 20 years SARS has grown to be a highly esteemed revenue collection agency that is regarded as South Africa’s strongest and most efficient government institution.

The 20 years celebrations will explore this legacy and the evolution of the revenue authority, reflecting on its impact on the country, on taxpayers, and globally. “Significantly, it will provide an opportunity and platform for SARS to tell its good news story,” the statement continues.

SARS’ technological systems have evolved throughout the years to make it easier and more attractive for taxpayers to meet their tax obligations. SARS was among the first state institutions to provide e-government services.

SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane is the fourth person to be at the leadership helm of the organisation.

“The 20 years celebrations are to pay tribute to all patriots and their role in establishing and strengthening SARS to be one of the strongest and efficient state owned institutions in the country,” Moyane said.

“SARS is a sophisticated and efficient global organisation with advanced technological systems that make it much easier for taxpayers to do the right thing.

“The organisation comprises over 14 000 men and women that are committed to meet their revenue target in touch economic conditions that has seen increasing job losses and unemployment.

“Our mission remains to provide the state with the much needed resources to implement government programs aimed at improving the quality of life of all the people of the country,” he said.

The anniversary celebrations take place against a backdrop of a full blown tax season that has seen SARS pay out a combined amount of more than R115-billion in VAT refunds (R100-billion) and personal income tax ( R14.9-billion )

“Over the last two decades SARS has modernised its operational capabilities, restructured the organisation, recruited new talent, appointed new executive committee leadership, which includes women and has, above all, achieved the historic milestone of collecting more than R1.1-trillion revenue target,” SARS said in its statement.

“SARS, as collective, remains focused and single-minded about meeting its revenue collection target of R1.265-trillion for this year. As the revenue collection service, SARS fully appreciates the responsibility entrusted by the constitution and remains aware of the implications of not meeting the target.”

The anniversary also takes place against a backdrop of a poor performing economy that has seen the revenue target revised downward to R1.214-trillion. Invariably, with growing unemployment due to retrenchments, income tax will be adversely affected by the economic decline and revenue collection may, inevitably, bear the brunt of its resultant negative economic and social effects.

SARS’ celebrations this month aims to build on the historical successes and achievements that have happened under the leadership of Commissioner Tom Moyane and his predecessors.

The nation-wide celebrations will also include a special 20 Years campaign and book on the history of SARS, roundtables and various other events to mobilise staff and society to claim the organisation as their own.

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