Ina Opperman
Business Journalist
2 minute read
25 Jun 2021
4:31 pm

Sars to close all tax branches for six weeks due to virus surge

Ina Opperman

No physical branch visits will be allowed and taxpayers will have to resort to electronic means of filing tax returns.

Sars closed all its offices on 1 July for six weeks, but assures that every taxpayer will be able to file. Picture: iStock

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) announced today all its tax branches will close temporarily from 1 July and that it is planning resume physical branch visits on 16 August 2021, while reviewing this continuously.

Branch filing will therefore not start on 1 July and taxpayers must not go to SARS branches. However, the temporary closure of the tax branches will not affect the start of the filing season for individuals who traditionally file via eFiling or the SARS MobiApp. They are encouraged to continue filing digitally from 1 July.

According to SARS it remains an essential service in terms of the Disaster Management Act. “We have always stressed the importance of balancing the continuity of this service with the risk of transmission,” a spokesperson said.

“With rising case numbers and the onset of the third wave of the pandemic, we have decided to close our tax branches temporarily for physical visits because our digital platforms allow taxpayers to continue to fulfil their obligations online, as demonstrated during the peak of the second wave.”

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During this time, taxpayers who require assistance to file online will be helped telephonically with the support of dedicated SARS staff. Taxpayers can book virtual appointments on the SARS website. They can also send an SMS to 47277 with the word “Booking” and their passport or ID number or asylum permit number for a SARS agent to contact them to arrange a booking.

Taxpayers can also use the SARS digital platforms on the website, or call the SARS contact centre on 0800 00 7277.

All customs ports of entry will be open for frontline customs operations, but no face-to-face client engagement other than that required for clearance and inspection will be allowed.

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