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The 2023 tax season started on 7 July 2023, and the deadline to submit your tax return is October 23 2023 for individual taxpayers. If you’re unsure how to submit your tax return, or you’ve been reluctant to submit it because you’re worried you might owe the South African Revenue Service (SARS) money, think again.
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SARS has introduced a plethora of digital technologies in 2023, so that you can submit your returns with speed and convenience. Even the experts at TaxTim say filing your return has become far less complicated that it used to be. Nevertheless, with help from the tax experts, here’s a list of basic tax return guidelines for first-time or inexperienced filers.
1. WHAT IS TAX AND HOW IS IT COLLECTED?
SARS levies tax on all income/profit generated in the country. This is how the government generates income in the country. Tax is assessed over a 12-month period starting from 1 March to 28 February the following year, for individuals and trusts.
2. SUBMIT YOUR TAX RETURN ONLINE
The simplest way to file a tax return is to register on SARS eFiling. The service automatically retrieves all your tax information through your profile. These include your income tax return form (ITR12) as well as statements of accounts from third party providers (IRP5/IT3a). You can even submit your tax return on your mobile phone if you download the SARS MobiApp.
3. REGISTER FOR EFILING LIKE THIS
Simply visit www.sarsefiling.co.za to register. You will have to upload the following documents:
- Copy of your ID.
- Proof of your residential address.
- A bank statement that reflects the name of your bank, your name, account type and account number.
- Please note that the documents may not be older than three months.
- Your latest IRP5/IT3(a) income tax certificate – this must reflect your income tax reference number.
4. HOW MUCH MUST I EARN TO SUBMIT A TAX RETURN?
SARS insists that not everyone needs to submit a tax return every year. The service says you do not need to submit a tax return if you are an employee earning less than R500 000 annually and employed by one employer for the full tax year. However, in a story we did recently, we explored the reasons why you should STILL submit even if you fall into this category.
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5. YOU SHOULD SUBMIT IN THE CASE OF THE FOLLOWING …
- If you changed employers during the year or had multiple sources of income (ie. an entrepreneur or freelancer).
- If you receive remuneration other than salary, e.g. a travelling allowance.
- If you have a medical aid or retirement annuity that is not administrated through your employer’s payroll.
6. WHAT DOES SARS NEED?
Not all might apply to your tax return needs, but these are the documents you should have close at hand to double check against your SARS eFiling profile:
- Your IRP5/IT3(a) tax certificate.
- Medical aid tax certificate (if applicable).
- Retirement annuity tax certificate (if applicable).
- Full details of your vehicle (If you have a travel allowance/company car).
- This includes a logbook specifying business kilometres.
- Statement of other income earned besides your salary. For example, business or rental income, etc.
- Section 18(A) certificates for any charitable donations you wish to include in your tax return.
- Any correspondence you received from SARS in the past.
If any of the IRP5/IT3(a) documents on your tax return – from your employer, bank, medical aid scheme, retirement annuity fund, investment manager and other relevant service providers – are incorrect, you will need to contact them directly to resupply to SARS.
7. WHATS THE NUMBER FOR THE SARS HELPDESK?
All queries, including those to receive your individual tax number, the changing of banking details and how to reset your password can be done via the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277 (SARS). The centre is open between 08h00-17h00 (excluding weekends and public holidays). Or go to www.sarsefiling.co.za to resolve these issues online.
Don’t forget that you have until October 23 2023 to submit your tax return.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, tax or legal advice. For further details consult the SARS website or