It’s tax filing season and maybe an opportunity to get something back from SARS


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Tax Time

The only good thing about filing one’s tax return is the prospect of getting something back. Anyone usually in that category, may want to get their ‘claim’ in early – tax filing season for the year to end-February opens on July 1 each year. That means each taxpayer’s return will already be available on the eFiling website (www.efiling.gov.za) of the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

Franchise owners may wish to help staff by advising them on whether they need to make a tax return, how and when they should do so, and what documents they will require.

Anyone anxious they may have to pay in can procrastinate up until Friday, November 21 – giving time to come up with the money – to file their return electronically, if an ordinary taxpayer, or until Friday, January 30, if a provisional taxpayer.

Why get in early?

Inform your staff that while for most people, the deadline for submitting a return is still four months away, it is best not to wait until the last minute, because the eFiling site, SARS branches and call centre get extremely busy in the final two weeks before deadline.

SARS has introduced a new feature this tax season – an Inbox on the eFiling page that enables taxpayers to access all of their correspondence from SARS. However, if your staff use a tax practitioner SARS will no longer accept a return from tax practitioners which are not registered with both SARS and one of the profession’s controlling bodies. Only registered tax practitioners will be able to use SARS’ services dedicated to tax advisers.

Many people will opt to complete the forms themselves. As usual, SARS agents will be on hand at their branches to help anyone fill in their electronic return on a DIY basis. One can also ask an agent for assistance telephonically or to shadow you on the eFiling site. Click on the Help-You-eFile icon on the eFiling page to use this service.

Who files?

A taxpayer does not have to submit a return if, in the tax period March 2018 to February 2019, he or she earned less than R250 000 as salary income before tax from one employer and have no other sources of income and no deductions that they can claim (such as for example, medical expenses, a travel allowance or retirement annuities).

If an employee filed their return last year but has since forgotten their password, they can simply reset it by calling the SARS call centre and following a simple procedure. The call centre number is 0800 007 277.

What documents are needed?

Here’s examples of documents required:

  • IRP5 certificates from your employer reflecting income and tax deductions.
  • Certificates from your banks, retirement annuity providers and investment firms reflecting interest earned, capital gains and/or losses, and retirement funding contributions throughout the year.
  • Any medical aid contribution certificates and receipts.
  • A vehicle logbook if you receive a travel allowance, use a company car or wish to claim travel expenses against income earned during the year.
  • Section 18A Certificates for donations made to registered charities and non-profit organisations.
  • Details about any income earned on top of your salary (freelance work or rent), and any expenses claimed against this income (such as phone costs, inventory, travel).
  • Financial statements, in the case of a sole proprietor.
  • All information relating to capital gain transactions, such as sale of a property or business.

If you have a company, don’t forget to file your company tax returns as well.

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