How important is your tax money?

How important is your tax money?

With the income tax return deadline looming, you might be wondering how important your tax contributions have been. A recent report by Stats SA provides an answer.

The South African government earned R1,22 trillion in income during the 2014/15 fiscal year, according to Stats SA’s latest Financial statistics of consolidated general government report1. If this amount was available in R200 banknotes stacked in bundles of 1 000 notes each, the bundles – laid side by side – would cover an area equivalent to 8 rugby fields.

Tax receipts accounted for the lion’s share, contributing 87% (or just over a trillion rand) to total income. This highlights how dependent government is on tax. Broken down further, the data show that individuals paid the most tax, contributing 29% (R354 billion) to total income, followed by value added tax and business tax. Click on the image to enlarge.



Sources of income for government other than tax included social contributions, grants and other receipts (sales and goods and services, property income, fines and penalties).

An interesting trend in tax collection is that the amount collected from individuals over the last five years has risen faster than the amount collected from businesses. Individual tax collection rose on average by 12% per year, while the amount collected from businesses increased by 8% per year.



So where does your tax money go? Government spent a total of R1,4 trillion in 2014/15, which was more than the income it collected. On average, that’s about R44 400 spent every second during the fiscal year.

Expressed in functional terms, the largest expenditure items were general public services (contributing R365 billion or 26% of total spending), education (R266 billion or 19%), social protection (R183 billion or 13%), and health (R157 billion or 11%).

For more information, visit the download page for the latest Financial statistics of consolidated general government report here.

1 Stats SA’s Financial statistics of consolidated general government report consolidates financial data from five levels of government: national, provincial, local, extra-budgetary accounts and higher education institutions, providing an overarching picture of total government income and expenditure. The report measures the impact of both the economic and functional effect of general government spending, gauging the extent of the cost of certain functions (for example, health, education, defence) against their economic impacts (for example, compensation of employees and interest paid).