PRETORIA, July 3 (NNN-SANEWS) -- The relationship between taxpayers and government is crucial in order to have a viable democracy, says South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Speaking at the launch of the 2012 tax season here Monday, he said: "Governments and the fiscal strength of governments play a very important part in sustaining both the government itself and the economy more generally.
"That relationship between taxpayer and government and government and the citizen generally is a crucial relationship that we need to sustain if we are going to have a viable and meaningful democracy."
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) expects more than five million taxpayers to submit their income tax returns over the next five months.
"What we are trying to generate is the right kind of values in our society, values that say we must be honest about what we earn, values that say that we must declare honestly, values which say that we recognize that our taxes are going to contribute to the well-being of other South Africans that are not as well off as we are. There's the value of solidarity that we must be mindful of," explained Gordhan.
He thanked the public "for their loyalty to the country, enabling government to do what it has done in the past 18 years -- some of which could have been done differently and some which could have been done better".
In the current tax season, 60 per cent of taxpayers will receive refunds while 20 per cent will be tax-neutral and 20 per cent will owe additional tax. Tax season for individuals opened for South Africans on July 1 with people being able to complete their tax returns via eFiling.
Last year a total of 251.6 billion Rand (about 24.5 billion USD) was contributed to the country by an estimated 12 million individual taxpayers. -- NNN-SANEWS