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Reminder: Tax Season 2021

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced the opening of the filing season for individual taxpayers.

The revenue collector said that the filing season will run from 1 July – 23 November, with taxpayers encouraged to file online.

SARS said that taxpayers who cannot file online can do so physically at a SARS branch by appointment only, as it has temporarily closed its physical branches due to concerns regarding the third wave of Covid-19 infections.

The temporary closure of the tax branches will not affect the start of the filing season for individuals who file via eFiling or the SARS MobiApp. These taxpayers are encouraged to continue doing so digitally, starting from 1 July 2021. 

However, branch filing will not commence on this date. SARS has planned to commence physical branch visits on 16 August 2021, but this will be continuously reviewed. Branches will be closed until an announcement is made confirming the reopening date.

SARS has committed to telephonically assisting taxpayers who require assistance to file online with the support of dedicated SARS staff.

New tax legislation

Here’s what you should know as a taxpayer: negligent non-compliance of all taxpayers has been criminalised.

What does the new amendment of tax legislation mean for you?

The new tax legislation that has recently been put in place makes even inadvertent or unintentional errors in information submitted to SARS a criminal offence. This has serious implications for every taxpayer as it could land you in jail with a criminal record, a penalty or a prison sentence for accidental errors in your dealings with SARS.

The new income tax season is here

The 2021 tax filing season runs from July 2021 onwards. You must ensure that you submit accurate information to SARS in your annual tax returns, whether you do your own submissions or we do it on your behalf. Keep the following in mind when you do your tax return or send your information to us:

  • Make sure all your contact details are correct:
    • Physical and postal address
    • Home, work and cell phone number
    • E-mail address
  • Make sure that SARS has your correct banking details
  • Make sure that you declare all income that you receive:
    • Salary, pension or annuity
    • Interest earned on investments
    • Rental income and business income
    • Profit on the sale of assets including the sale of a home and crypto currencies
  • Any deductions that are claimed must be accurate and supported by the correct documents. Examples include your medical aid and retirement annuity contributions made to an institution other than your employer
  • Ensure that you have a current ITR-DD form completed by your medical practitioner if you claim any disability expenses for yourself, spouse or children

Auto-assessments and refunds 

While SARS has assured that the filing season will not be impacted by the lockdown (see above), there are still some important considerations, including the issue of auto-assessments and refunds.

SARS can expedite the tax filing process by actioning an auto assessment, sometimes without informing you.

This means that SARS will automatically complete an assessment based on data received from employers, medical schemes, retirement annuities and other third-party data providers. This auto-assessment will be pre-loaded onto your profile ready for you to accept.

Auto-assessments are intended to curb non-compliance, but the consequence of you simply accepting them could include forfeiting funds or other forms of tax relief due to you.

It is very important to make sure that all information pulled through on the assessment and that it was recorded correctly. Travel allowances and rental incomes are examples of income that might not have been automatically included.

If an auto-assessment has been completed and loaded onto your profile, it is a good idea to seek professional advice before accepting it or editing any information on the return yourself.

How to avoid penalties

All your documents must be kept for a period of five years after the date of an assessment or date of an audit or verification of a tax return was finalised. SARS is bound by the law and will levy penalties for every transgression of the Income Tax Act and Tax Administration Act. Make sure that you provide accurate and complete information.

We are here to assist you with your tax return – contact us today.