The taxman cometh
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.