Local government structures want tax law to be amended, enabling them to dip into taxpayer refunds and recover debt that is owed. But the National Treasury, which sets tax policy, said a discussion on revenue collection and credit control was necessary first — a discussion that it would be happy to have with the South African Local Government Association. Ismail Momoniat, head of tax and financial-sector policy in the National Treasury, said taxpayer information was confidential. "Municipalities will not know the tax affairs of any taxpayer. There is no way that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) can provide them with such information. Generally tax is not the first instrument to use to collect bills." The proposal was mooted last week during the local government week in Parliament as a panacea to SA’s rising municipal debt. Municipalities are owed more than R138bn by government departments, businesses and households. It is not clear which debtors may be targeted if the propos...

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