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Budget Speech 2019

Tax revenue and raising SARS capacity


First, we must look at the President’s task list. Then we must match the resources we have to the plan. In this current year, tax revenue has been revised down by R15.4 billion compared to our October estimate.


Approximately half of the increase in the shortfall since October is due to higher than expected VAT refunds. This lowers revenue collection for the year, but puts money back into the economy.


SARS is being fixed. My thanks go to Judge Nugent and his Panel for their wise counsel. On their recommendations:

1. A new Commissioner will be appointed in the coming weeks.
2. A new Illicit Economy Unit launched in August 2018 will fight the trade in illicit cigarettes and tobacco.
3. The large business unit was a major source of tax collection, and its skill was renowned. This unit will be reintroduced and will be formally launched in early April 2019.
4. SARS is strengthening its IT team and its IT systems and this is crucial for our tax collection efforts.
5. Information sharing agreements with allies will help fight cross-border tax evasion schemes.


Judge Davis will assess the tax gap, which is the difference between revenue collected and what ought to be collected. We will also review the proliferation of duty free shops inside South Africa.


Fiscal prudence requires some tax changes. We propose additional revenue measures of R15 billion in 2019/20. There will be a slight upward adjustment of the tax-free threshold for personal income taxes, with no change in the current personal income tax brackets. Together these will raise R12.8 billion.


Madam Speaker, excise duties on alcohol and tobacco will be increased, as follows:

1. The excise duty on a can of beer goes up by 12 cents to R1.74
2. A 750ml bottle of wine will have an excise duty of R3.15, which is 22 cents more
3. The duty on a 750ml bottle of sparkling wine goes up by 84 cents to R10.16
4. The duty on a bottle of whiskey will go up by R4.54 to R65.84
5. A pack of 20 cigarettes goes up by R1.14 cents to R16.66
6. The excise duty on a typical cigar will go up by about 64 cents to R7.80
7. There will be no change to the excise duty on sorghum beer
8. Fuel levies will increase by 29 cents per litre for petrol and 30 cents per litre for diesel


The Road Accident Fund levy increase is not enough to match the Fund’s R215 billion liability.


We urge the Department of Transport to quickly resubmit the Road Accident Benefit Scheme Bill for Parliament’s urgent consideration. It will help stabilise fuel prices.


The National Treasury will work with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Economic Development to explore the introduction of an export tax on scrap metal.


The ordinary taxpayer is fully tax compliant and pays their fair share.


Thuma Mina. Paying your taxes is the right thing to do.