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Tuesday, 02 April 2024 16:00

SA Receiver of Revenue rakes in nearly R10bn more than estimated.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The SA Revenue Service (SARS) collected almost R10bn more than February's revised budget estimate, as corporate taxes came in higher than expected and the tax authority clamped down on refund fraud.

SARS said it collected a net R1.741-trillion for the tax year that ended at midnight on March 31, compared to the finance minister's revised February estimate of R1.731-trillion. The higher-than-budgeted collections are likely to see the budget deficit come in slightly better than February's revised estimates for the latest 2023/24 fiscal year.

SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter announced the preliminary revenue collection outcome for the 2023/24 fiscal year in a media briefing on Tuesday.

The net revenues stood at R1,74 trillion after SARS paid R414 billion in refunds.

SARS collected almost R10 billion more than February's revised budget estimate.

"As at the end of March 2024, SARS collected a record gross amount of R2.155 trillion, year-on-year 4.2% against the nominal GDP of 4.9%. SARS paid out refunds of R414 billion to taxpayers, the highest ever quantum in refunds compared to R381 billion in the prior year, representing a growth of 8.6%. This brings the collected net amount to R 1.741 trillion, which is almost R10 billion higher than the revised estimate and R54 billion more than last year’s R 1.687 trillion," Kieswetter said on Tuesday.

"Just in VAT refunds, the amount of R343 billion represents a growth of 7.5% over the prior year. Total refunds this year represent about 6% of GDP. It is, therefore, pleasing that R120 billion and R37 billion of the refund benefit, respectively, were directed to SMMEs and individuals. This is good when businesses and individuals remain cash-strapped."

Kieswetter said the tax authority remained concerned about refund fraud and abuse.

"In the period under review, SARS was able to prevent the outflow of R101 billion of impermissible refunds."

Kieswetter says total tax revenue increased by R54.2 billion compared to the 2022/23 fiscal year.

"This was driven by personal income taxes of R49.5 billion (8.2% y/y) on the back of higher than estimated compensation of employees, as well as higher domestic VAT of R39.3 billion (8.1% y/y).

"Net Personal Income Tax, which accounts for 37.3% of total revenue, grew by R49.5 billion 8.2% in 2023/24, as employment improved year-on-year from an average wage settlement rates improved from an annual average of 6.0% in 2022 to 6.3% in 2023."

"PAYE (Pay As You Earn) collections from incentives and bonus payments predominantly from the finance sector also boosted PIT revenue."