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Tax Administration Act: Fulfilling human rights through efficient and effective tax administration

Paper by: Dr Fareed Moosa

Public finance is vital for enabling effective governance, maintaining law and order, promoting peace and prosperity, facilitating the reconstruction and redevelopment of national infrastructure, and providing access to social goods (such as, education and social security). Efficient and effective tax administration is an essential pillar of a modern, democratic state. This article aims to show that the Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011 (TAA) is unmistakably aimed at advancing the public interest. The kernel of its aims is ensuring the proper collection of tax. This purpose is reconcilable with the principle in South Africa’s Constitution (s 195(1)) requiring efficiency in public administration, of which tax administration forms an integral part. Furthermore, the aims of the TAA are consistent with the South African Revenue Service Act (s 3) stating that SARS’s objective is the “efficient and effective collection of revenue”. In so doing, the TAA serve to enhance fulfilment of the Constitution’s underlying goals. This is so because the TAA is geared towards ensuring the availability of adequate public resources for public benefit or use in the public interest.