The South African Revenue Service (SARS) notes with deep concern the devastating impact of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The seven-day moving average of positive Covid-19 infections has now surpassed 12 000 cases. On one single day – 23 June 2021 – there were 17 493 positive cases reported and 166 deaths. We express our deepest sympathies to those who are bereaved. Many of our own loved ones, friends and colleagues have been affected.
In terms of the Disaster Management Act, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) remains an essential service. We have always stressed the importance of balancing the continuity of this service with the risk of transmission.
With the rising case numbers and the onset of the third wave peak of the pandemic, we have decided to close our tax branches temporarily for physical visits as from Thursday 01 July 2021. We are able to do so because the SARS digital platforms, as demonstrated during the peak of the second wave, allows taxpayers to continue to fulfil their obligations online.
Importantly, 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. These taxpayers are encouraged to continue doing so digitally, starting from 1 July 2021.
Branch filing will NOT commence on 01 July 2021. At this stage, we plan to commence physical branch visits on 16 August 2021, but will review this continuously. Taxpayers are advised not to come to a SARS branch. The branches will be closed until an announcement is made confirming the reopening date.
During the branch closures, taxpayers who require assistance to file online will be assisted telephonically with the support of dedicated SARS staff.
All Customs Ports of Entry will be open for frontline customs operations, but not for face-to-face client engagement other than for clearance and inspection purposes.
In line with our stated commitment to modernise our systems and make it easy for taxpayers to meet their tax obligations, we continue our commitment to use technology to ensure continued service to taxpayers in a manner that ensures both the safety of our employees as well as taxpayers.
We remind members of the public to note the following:
- Bookings for virtual appointments may be made via the SARS website by following the link below: https://www.sars.gov.za/contact-us/make-an-appointment/; and sending an SMS to 47277 with the word “Booking” and your passport/ID No/Asylum permit No. and a SARS agent will contact you to arrange a booking on your behalf.
- Taxpayers can use our digital platforms by visiting www.sars.gov.za
- The SARS Contact Centre (0800 00 7277) will continue to service any queries from members of the public.
SARS will continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and keep all South African taxpayers informed of any changes to these arrangements.