The returns were submitted during the 2014 Tax Season.
(READ MORE: S.Africa’s 2014 tax season ends 21 November)
This means that 4.05 million taxpayers (94.49 per cent) who were required to submit a tax return this year did so on-time.
This is 10.14 per cent higher than the 3.69 million figure of 2013.
“Although the total number of returns submitted for 2014 (5.32 million, including outstanding returns from previous years) is marginally lower than the total for 2013 (6.09 million) the decrease is due to the introduction of higher submission threshold since the 2013 tax year,” said SARS.
“Effectively, the new threshold means that taxpayers earning one source of income below 250 000 rand for the year, from one employer, with no refund claims on their tax returns, did not have to submit a tax return.”
According to SARS, the new submission threshold removes the administrative burden on such taxpayers to have to submit a return to SARS, although they still contribute to the Personal Income Tax (PIT) system through, for example, their monthly PAYE (Pay-As-You-Earn) deductions by their employers.
Thousands of individuals had no obligation to queue at a SARS branch office or submit their returns on the internet via eFiling.
This year, 207 525 individuals submitted tax returns but were not required to do so, compared to 792 928 in 2013 because of the new submission threshold.
The Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, welcomed the response from taxpayers to the 2014 Tax Season.
“I would like to thank the millions of taxpayers who have continued to support our democracy by paying their taxes and submitting their tax returns on time every year,” said Nene.
“Their continued commitment to the building of a more prosperous South Africa has been one of the cornerstones of our democracy over the past 20 years. The tax system is a key part of the foundation of a country’s public finances. So, the continued tax compliance by fellow South Africans can only bode well for our democracy and fiscal sovereignty,” he added.
(READ MORE: S.Africa’s tax revenues jump 10% in 2013/14)
As part of the total submissions, SARS received 1.02 million outstanding returns from previous years which is 34% (535 580) lower than the 1.55 million outstanding returns from previous years that were submitted by the 2013 deadline.
This is a very encouraging indicator that the administrative penalties SARS imposes for outstanding returns are having the desired effect of improving compliance levels.
Of the 1.02 million outstanding returns received from previous years, defaulting taxpayers paid a SARS total of 436 million rand in outstanding penalties. SARS will continue to impose penalties against defaulting taxpayers.