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The SA Revenue Service (Sars) strategic plan for 2020/2021-2024/2025 is uninspired, filled with those motherhood-and-apple-pie platitudes we expect from it: building public trust and confidence; providing clarity and certainty; making it easy for taxpayers and traders to comply with their obligations; detecting taxpayers and traders who do not comply; expanding the use of data; modernising its systems to provide digital and streamlined online services. It replicates virtually every other Sars annual plan in recent years, and in and of itself will likely do little to either inspire its staff, or instil confidence in a sceptical public.

Hidden in the rhetoric are several insights in respect of just how bad things really are for the erstwhile golden child: voluntary tax compliance sits at 67%; only 30% of audit interventions yields results; and only 67% of the public has confidence in Sars...

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