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The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has allegedly deliberately withheld tax refunds so it could reach its revenue target. "For the past three years, the office has consistently been flagging this problem as an emerging systemic issue," said tax ombud Judge Bernard Ngoepe. His office has undertaken an investigation after an escalation of complaints in 2016-17. "The complaints about the questionable delay in refunds were so many that we had no choice but to investigate them." In March 2017, with Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s approval, Ngoepe began investigating the allegations and found sufficient evidence to suggest that refunds were deliberately being withheld. In the report signed off by Gigaba and given to SARS commissioner Tom Moyane, the ombud concluded: "It is clear that the system allows for SARS to unduly delay the payment of verified refunds to taxpayers in certain circumstances. This has become a systemic issue. The system does not sufficiently protect taxpayers." T...

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