Tax Statistics in South Africa
Deon Breytenbach, Randall Carolissen, Mamiky Leolo, Cristina Da Silva
Revenue Planning, Analysis and Reporting, South African Revenue Service, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) submission to the Portfolio Committee on Finance, 16th February 2009:

“… The open engagement between the Legislature and civil society on matters of taxation is a world class example of transparent and responsive government. We also welcome the recent publication by National Treasury and SARS of 2008 Tax Statistics. … it will add further value to this process and will also assist Parliament in its important new role regarding money Bills …”

The objectives of the Tax Statistics are to provide statistics for economists and researchers and to inform policy. Data is provided in an aggregated format to ensure taxpayer's confidentiality.

VAT and Customs Duty data have close to real-time response to fluctuations in economic activity and trade, indicators which proved valuable in validating economic data published by Government during the global financial crisis. Corporate Tax, due to provisional payment schedules lags changes in GDP by 12 to 18 months. The skewed distribution of income and the concentration of economic power in South Africa are reflected in the tax statistics. Tracking shifts in tax distributions provide insights into impact of poverty relief and other equity enhancing legislation which require continuos assessment.

In South Africa about 14 million people are on social relief programs. To ensure sustainability and improve equity, comprehensive social welfare and health reform are anticipated. With the inclusion of unemployed and economic refugees the reconfigured systems will also provide insight into informal and illicit economies. The proposed National Health Insurance will also depend on tax statistics to determine viability. Data derived from these systems will assist in National Planning and budgeting for key ministries.

South Africa has many industrial, trade and other tax incentives and allowances in place.

Keywords: Tax statistics

Biography: Deon Breytenbach is an Executive Manager in the Revenue Analysis division of the South African Revenue Service (SARS). By profession he is a Chartered Accountant and is inter alia responsible for providing strategic and technical input in the development of the Tax Statistics and evaluation of the content. He has more than 12 years experience in analysis of tax revenue providing analysis of tax collections to the Executive. He also plays a role in the costing of tax proposals. Prior to his career with SARS he worked for the Auditor-General with focus on special investigations and value for money audits.