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Tax Ombudsman Judge Bernard Ngoepe has written to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, asking for permission to launch a probe into whether “systemic problems” at the South African Revenue Service (SARS) are the reason for widespread delays in the payment of refunds. This comes as SARS is under heightened scrutiny after collecting about R30bn less than had been projected in 2016, which the tax agency blamed on economic factors. But corporate tax went up by R6.5bn over the same period. Ngoepe said on Sunday that his office conducted two categories of investigations — Category A, which emanates from complaints by individuals or companies; and Category B, which probes “systemic problems” or issues at SARS.

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