SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter told MPs on Friday that it has disallowed R1.8bn of the R2.9bn claims for home office expenses made to date in the 2021/2022 tax year.

A Business Day report says in a briefing by the National Treasury to Parliament’s two finance committees, Kieswetter said that so far in the current tax year, SARS had received more than 76 000 returns in which individual taxpayers claimed home office expenses.

‘Our risk engine stopped almost 66 000 of the 76 000 claims (86%) and about 79% of these that were selected have been completed and to date 60.4% of these claims have been adjusted, yielding R545m,’ Kieswetter told MPs.

‘In terms of the actual home office expenses claim, there was a total claim against this line item of R2.9bn. When we flagged this, about 3 300 taxpayers have to date changed their minds. They submitted a correction and said, “sorry you can remove that, we no longer want you to consider it”. Just that yielded a value of R334m. In total, our verification work resulted in R1.8bn of the R2.9bn claims to be disallowed, meaning that the actual home office expenses claim which we will allow will only be R1.1bn. So you can see from just one area of work, if (we) don’t put a laser focus on it, it will cost the fiscus almost R2bn.’

He explained that claims were disallowed because taxpayers did not meet the specified criteria or because of incorrect or incomplete calculations of their expenses.

Full Business Day report (subscription needed)