PRETORIA: The Tax Ombud is at the Fourways Mall this week helping taxpayers who have tax complaints against the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
Since Tuesday, 22 August 2023, taxpayers have been benefitting from the Tax Ombud’s initiative to take services to the doorsteps of communities. The campaign at Fourways Mall ends on Monday, 28 August 2023.
The visit to the mall is part of Making Taxpayers’ Rights Matter educational campaign launched on 1 August 2023 by Tax Ombud Ms Yanga Mputa. It encourages and reassures taxpayers of continued and intensified promotion and protection of their tax rights. It also promotes face-to-face engagements with taxpayers and features “temporal” offices being set up at malls to bring services closer to communities.
Ms Mputa says: “We are at the Fourways Mall promoting awareness about the free and impartial services we provide to taxpayers with tax complaints against SARS. Being at the mall is part of our concerted efforts to take our services to the doorsteps of communities nationwide. We provide status updates on existing tax complaints, but most importantly, help those who want to lodge new complaints. The response from taxpayers, tax practitioners and businesses since we have been here has been amazing, and this shows the need for us to go to our communities and empower the public about the much-needed service we provide to those needing assistance.”
She adds that whilst the Office of the Tax Ombud (OTO) plans to increase its footprint (it currently has a single office in Menlyn, Pretoria), visiting communities and increasing face-to-face engagements with stakeholders will remain a priority. The campaign, which runs parallel to the SARS Tax Season, is also the OTO’s drive to promote customer-centricity. “Although we have embraced digitisation enabling taxpayers to lodge complaints and engage with us from anywhere in the country, we also acknowledge the desire for that personal face-to-face engagement from our stakeholders, as well as that some have not embraced technology.”
Ms Mputa encourages taxpayers to visit the Fourways Mall (Food Court) for assistance. “Our team of operational, legal and communications specialists are ready to answer your tax questions and assist with tax complaints. The OTO senior leadership, including the CEO Prof. Thabo Legwaila, is also providing full support to our team at the mall. I will also be at the mall tomorrow (Saturday, 26 August) to assist and provide support.”
Making Taxpayers’ Rights Matter also seeks to ensure that even those who might not have tax complaints for now know where to go and what to do when they feel SARS has infringed upon their rights. Delays in payment of tax refunds and identity theft are some of the typical taxpayer complaints received at the mall.
Ms Mputa reiterated that the OTO is committed to promoting and protecting taxpayer rights but will not assist taxpayers in dodging their tax obligations. “We have access to the SARS system and can independently verify any information received from taxpayers, which is very important to ensure our impartiality when dealing with complaints,” she adds.
The OTO plans to visit more communities in the upcoming weeks.
|Taxpayers and businesses who require the OTO to present to their stakeholders may make requests through [email protected]
For more information, visit www.taxombud.gov.za
ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF TAX OMBUD
Pearl Seopela: Senior Manager: Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Mobile: +27 60 971 4551 Email: [email protected]
For media interviews, please contact Russel Mamabolo: Specialist: Communications and Outreach