SARS takes a big step towards building a smart modern revenue authority

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has embarked on a journey to reimagine a future revenue authority where increasingly its work will be informed by data-driven insights, self-learning computers, artificial intelligence and interconnectivity of people and devices.

SARS’ workforce will be empowered to optimally function within this exciting changed and changing world of work.

Commissioner Kieswetter emphasizes: “We cannot ignore the power of a data and technology enabled organization, and the impact it will have on the future world of work. We can however prepare for it by consciously and actively managing the interplay between human effort and artificial intelligence. Today we take a conscious step towards building a smart modern SARS, with unquestionable integrity, that is trusted and admired.”

The SARS of the future must be able to respond to this new environment while fulfilling the organization’s Higher Purpose of enabling Government to build a capable state that will ensure the wellbeing of all South Africans.

Since joining SARS in May last year, Commissioner Edward Kieswetter has constantly emphasized the need to boost the organization’s technological capacity and deriving insights from data, for a ‘re-imagined SARS of the future’.

The Commissioner has also been on an extensive consultation campaign with staff which has redefined SARS’ strategic objectives. This has created a need for a high-level internal and external recruitment drive to attract highly talented professionals and executives to bring SARS up to speed with advances in big data and artificial intelligence in the tax and customs environment.

SARS’ strategic objectives include, amongst others, providing clarity and certainty of tax obligations, making it easier for taxpayers and traders to comply, detecting those who do not comply and making it hard and costly for them. The organization is also in the process of modernizing its systems to provide digital and streamlined services and rebuild public trust and confidence in the tax and customs administration.

As a result, SARS has advertised strategic leadership positions to attract talented and passionate executives to fill the roles of Chief Data Scientist, Chief Technology Innovation Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Procurement Officer, Director Business Segment: Large & International Taxpayers (formerly Large Business Centre), Director Individual Segment: Wealthy & Complex Taxpayers, and nine regional Directors as well as a Director: Taxpayer Engagement, to list a few.

SARS is keen to grow and develop internal staff by recruiting some of these positions from within, but the Commissioner also want to use this opportunity to enrich the current “gene pool” with future oriented skills and some fresh perspective.

“This recruitment process will reaffirm SARS’ commitment to the transformation agenda of our country and the advancement of employment equity and diversity in the workplace,” the SARS Commissioner said.

Kieswetter added that “We cannot simply talk about the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is upon us, and we must redouble our efforts to future proof ourselves by building an intelligent organization that will provide a world-class service to compliant taxpayers, but equally detect those who are non-compliant and make it costly and hard for them”.

“Our Vision 2024 is to build a smart modern SARS, with unquestionable integrity, trusted by government, the public and our international peers,” he concluded.

Those interested in applying for these high-level positions should visit the SARS recruitment portal at and click Careers on the bottom left of the home page. Then click Join Us.


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