South African Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba speaks during a breakfast conversation on Thursday, the day after his medium-term budget speech in Parliament. PHOTO: David Ritchie/ANA PHOTO

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Gigaba announces inquiry into SARS revenue shortfall

johhanesburg, November 7 – Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba announced on Tuesday that President Jacob Zuma has agreed to establish an urgent commission of inquiry into tax revenue collection and governance at the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

Gigaba said he has informed SARS commissioner Tom Moyane who expressed his support and willingness to cooperate.

“We expect this inquiry to be constructive and to strengthen the institution further where possible. It is critical for Government to determine the cause of the tax revenue under-collection in order to enable Government to take urgent remedial steps to ensure that SARS is able to meet its revenue targets as set out in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) and budget,” said Gigaba said after meeting the South African Airways board on Tuesday.

Gigaba’s MTBPS he presented in Parliament last month showed that SARS had undercollected R50 billion in tax revenue.

Political parties lashed out at Gigaba over the tax shortfall, with opposition parties calling for Moyane’s head.

Another revenue under-collection would pose risks and weaken tax administration, he said. “The inquiry will help to assess what factors are responsible for the under collection of revenue by SARS, and what steps need to be taken to improve performance management systems at SARS to improve its capacity to collect revenue.

“The MTBPS recognised that whilst the economic cycle is the most likely and significant factor driving lower revenue-collection, other factors could also be at play, like weakening tax morality and challenges facing tax administration.

“Whatever the reason for such shortfall, the risk of under-collection of revenue impacts directly on the size of the future budget deficits, and hence on the sustainability of the projected debt-to-GDP trend, and directly on our credit rating and growth prospects.”

– African News Agency (ANA)

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