The South African Revenue Service (Sars) announced on Friday that it has appointed eight debt collection agencies to recover an amount of R16.6-billion in debt owed to it.
Sars said the objective was to boost revenue collection by outsourcing the recovery of older and relatively small amounts due to Sars. The contract takes effect immediately and will run until 28 February, 2019.
The revenue services said in total it was owed R150-billion by 2.3-million taxpayers and traders.
Sars said taxpayers and traders with outstanding accounts will only be contacted, via electronic channels. The agencies will embark on the traditional debt collection activities, including outbound calls, tracing of taxpayers, sending out notices which can be text messages, emails or letters or notices.
The Revenue Services warned that under no circumstances should debtors pay money directly to the debt collection agency. All outstanding taxes must only be paid directly to Sars via authorised payment channels.
"The debt collection agencies have also been tasked with encouraging non-compliant taxpayers to submit their outstanding returns to Sars so as to avoid the imposition of any further interest or penalties and criminal charges," Sars said.
"Sars invites all taxpayers to please co-operate with the service providers above. Failure to do this could result in criminal prosecution."
The agencies that have been appointed by Sars are: CSS Credit Solution Services, ITC Business Administrators, Medaco Capital Services, New Integrated Credit Solutions, Norman Bisset & Associates Group, Revenue Consulting, Transactional Capital Recoveries, and Van De Venter Mojapelo.