Thousands scramble as tax deadline looms

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pretoria - Thousands of taxpayers are this afternoon scrambling to file their tax returns ahead of the deadline.

So far, more than 3.3 million people have submitted their tax returns this year.

South African Revenue Services (SARS) spokesperson Adrian Lackay said the revenue service offices and its website had been under extreme pressure but that staff was coping.

"We received 10 000 returns via e-filing on Thursday and the website continues to be busy," Lackay said.

He said SARS had received 600 000 more returns this year and attributed this to the newly introduced tough penalties against tax offenders.

"I think the tough penalties do play a role in the increase. We will be applying the penalties from Monday and I think it's only fair to those who have submitted their returns," Lackay added.

SARS had extended its office hours since Monday to assist taxpayers trying to meet the deadline for the electronic submission of tax returns.

Branch offices have opened from 7am to 6pm daily allowing for an extra three hours per day during which taxpayers can receive free assistance.

Some SARS branch offices will be open till 7pm depending on taxpayer volumes during the day.