The South African Revenue Service has enlisted the services of third-party debt collectors to help it collect long-outstanding debt owed by taxpayers.

The collectors will focus on tax owed that is older than five years, where no payments or payment arrangements have been made with the service. Their services kicked in at the end of October.

SARS said that taxpayers should “kindly note” that it is a criminal offence to submit a return without making the necessary payment.

“It is a criminal offence for a person to wilfully and without just cause to fail or neglect to withhold and pay to SARS an amount of tax as and when required,” it said.

The taxman has taken a harsher tone in recent months as it has come under increasing pressure to collect more tax as current revenues have fallen short.

The medium-term budget policy statement on Wednesday revealed that tax collections came in R56.8 billion under what was budgeted in February.

Finance minister Enoch Godongwana revised the 2023 February Budget net tax revenue estimate from R1,787.5 billion to R1,730.4 billion, as a result.

Despite the under-collection, however, during the first half of the current fiscal year, SARS collected gross revenue totalling R1,016.3 billion, growing by 4.5%.

“This performance is on the back of strong gross collections from VAT, Fuel Levy and PIT- partially offset by lower gross collections from CIT as company profits remain under pressure,” it said.

Its collection efforts have not gone without riling people up, though. The group sent out “threatening” messages to tax representatives last month, which left a sour taste in the mouths of many, forcing the revenue service to apologise.

The group had threatened to initiate legal action against tax representatives, neglecting to mention several processes and initiatives that would first have to occur to assist in becoming compliant.

However, with third-party tax collectors, this process is already underway.

SARS said that taxpayers should check with SARS via eFiling or SMS to see if they have a balance owing to the taxman. In the event that money is owed, it said taxpayers should either:

  • Pay the balance outstanding.
  • Request – with reason and proof – to pay in instalments
  • Request – with reason and proof – to compromise the debt or
  • Apply for suspension of the debt in the event of a dispute

In the meantime, the taxman has listed the third-party services it has approved for tax collections. Taxpayers are cautioned that these are the only approved collection services, and to be wary of scams.

  • Blake & Associates (Pty) Ltd
  • CSS Credit Solutions Services (Pty)
  • DealFlow Revenue Collection (Pty) Ltd
  • Debt-In Consultants (Pty) Ltd
  • Dredin Consulting (Pty) Ltd
  • IDP Tracing Services T/A TraceOnline
  • Medaco Revenue Solutions Pty Ltd
  • Mkhabela Huntley Attorneys JV Norton Lambrionos (SA) Inc
  • Montsonyana Institute of Human Excellence (PTY) LTD
  • New Integrated Credit Solutions (Pty) Ltd (NICS)
  • NFD Consulting (Pty) Ltd
  • Nimble Collection Services (Pty) Ltd
  • Nudebt Management (Pty) Ltd
  • Phakamani-Peers
  • Revenue Consulting (PTY) Ltd
  • Nutun (Pty) Ltd
  • Tshiqi Zebedelia Inc TZ Attorney
  • Van Rhyns Attorneys
Further information can be found on the SARS website.