The South African Revenue Service will send you an SMS in August to check your tax auto-assessment. PHOTO: Phonlawat Chaicheevinlikit 123RF
The South African Revenue Service will send you an SMS in August to check your tax auto-assessment. PHOTO: Phonlawat Chaicheevinlikit 123RF

Tax filing season for individuals, which would ordinarily be opening at the beginning of July, has been postponed to August.

The SA Revenue Service (Sars) is using the extension until the opening of filing season to collect as much information as possible from your employer, your medical scheme, your retirement annuity provider and your bank so that it can work out the tax you owe or are owed before the season opens.

When the season opens, you may receive an SMS stating that Sars has issued a draft auto-assessment containing all the information Sars has gathered. Sars says you will be able to view this on e-Filing or on its MobiApp.

If you accept the draft assessment, you won’t have to complete and file a tax return, and if you are due a refund, you will get it in the first week of August, Sars says.

Sars says during August, taxpayers who have not yet been auto-assessed but who do have all their data will be invited to file early. 

If you do not accept the auto-assessment or you were not auto-assessed or invited to file in August, from September 1 you will be able to file your return electronically as usual via e-Filing or the Sars MobiApp. 

If you cannot e-file and want to visit a Sars branch to get help completing your return, you will have to make an appointment via SARS’s online appointment system.

Individuals who do not accept the auto-assessment must file their tax returns at a branch by October 22 or by e-filing or on the app by November 16.

Provisional taxpayers who do not accept the auto-assessment must file by January 31 2021.

Nicci Courtney-Clarke, the head of tax at online practitioner TaxTim, says only if you have very simple tax affairs and are 100% sure you do not have any other deductions to claim should you accept the auto-assessment.

TaxTim is advising taxpayers to work through a tax return to ensure that they consider each and every income and expense section to make sure nothing is left out.

She says the reason for this is that:

  • Sars may not have received all of your tax certificates — perhaps you pay the medical scheme contributions for an elderly parent which Sars won’t include in the auto-assessment;
  • Sars may not have your most up-to-date tax certificates. For example, your employer may re-issue your IRP5 due to a source code error but Sars may have the old IRP5 on your auto-assessment;
  • You may miss out on claiming certain deductions, which won’t appear on your auto-assessment such as wear and tear, home office expenses and donations to charities.
  • You may have earned additional income such as that for rent or freelance work which may not appear on your auto-assessment. 

Sars has previously said it has enhanced its website to include facilities for non-filers to submit supporting documents via the internet to reduce the need to come to visit a Sars branch.

It has also developed a streamlined banking details verification process in an attempt to reduce the number of taxpayers visiting branches.