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PRETORIA – Newly appointed South African Revenue Service Commissioner Edward Kieswetter says people who earn less that R500,000 a year are exempt from filing tax returns this season.

Kieswetter has launched the 2019 tax filing season at a briefing in Pretoria where he committed the revenue service to better educating taxpayers on their obligations.

He was speaking at a briefing in Pretoria where is also expected to discuss his first month in office.

President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Kieswetter in March but he assumed office last month.

Kieswetter says they have decided to increase the threshold of people required to file tax returns from R350,000 to R500,000 annual income.

He listed the criteria.

“Your total income for the year is not more than R500,000; two, you only receive income from a single employer; three, you’ve no other form of income, such as a car allowance, business income, taxable interest, rental income or income from another job.

“Fourthly, you’ve no additional deductible allowances such as medical expenses, travelling expenses or retirement annuities.”

LOST TRUST

Kieswetter said that on his first day he addressed a letter to staff.

“I said to staff very clearly; this is what you can expect of me and hold me accountable for and in turn this is what I expect of you and what I’ll hold you accountable for so that we have got a psychological contract that’s clear, nothing vague about it.

“And then I said, collectively if we do this, the outcome will be a restored public confidence.”

He said that he found Sars staff with very low morale, which was something he has committed to addressing.

“And sadly, I found that many of our staff have lost trust in the leadership. Many of them have a broken spirit. We’ve, unfortunately, created a culture of fear and intimidation and racial tension is sadly high in the organisation.

“And so, the first step to changing something is to not be in denial about it and to speak about it openly and that’s what we’ve done.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

This article first appeared on EWN : Kieswetter: Those who earn less than R500k exempt from filing tax return

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