The tax­man cometh

Finweek English Edition - - To My Mind - NAME WITH­HELD

I READ YOUR COVER STORY (“Un­happy re­turns,” 6 Novem­ber) with great in­ter­est. I can’t agree more that the ve­neer of an ef­fi­cient Gov­ern­ment depart­ment is ex­tremely thin. As far as tax col­lec­tion goes, yes. But heaven for­bid if the SA Rev­enue Ser­vice owes you money.

Af­ter be­ing self-em­ployed for about 11 years, I once again be­came an em­ployee of a large con­glom­er­ate. Un­for­tu­nately, I owed the tax­man R38 000, which I wasn’t able to pay in a lump sum. Rev­enue and I came to an ar­range­ment that I would pay R400/month (quite a sum 12 years ago) and that all re­funds due to me in the in­terim would be used to re­duce my debt.

It even­tu­ally took about five years to re­pay the debt and, over that time, I wasn’t given any proof of pay­ment. I even­tu­ally ob­tained a state­ment from Rev­enue and was ap­palled to dis­cover that for months no pay­ments were de­ducted and that three or four de­duc­tions would be made at once. In the end I landed up over­pay­ing the tax­man around R3 600 – money that was re­li­giously de­ducted from my salary ev­ery month.

When I ap­proached Rev­enue I was told in no un­cer­tain terms I must prove that my com­pany had in fact paid over the monies. Need­less to say, if your com­pany has about 15 000 em­ploy­ees and Rev­enue had a cheque hand-de­liv­ered to it ev­ery month, there’s no way you can sift through thou­sands of cheques to prove pay­ments were made – an im­pos­si­ble task.


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