Pretoria – Tax Season 2017 has officially opened and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has issued some helpful tips to assist taxpayers.
The tax season opened on 1 July 2017 for eFilers, while it opened on Monday for those filing their tax returns for the 2016/17 tax year at SARS branches.
Last year’s Tax Season saw SARS receive 6.31 million income tax returns. Tax season is the single biggest annual engagement between ordinary citizens and SARS.
Tax Season is an opportunity for taxpayers to reconcile their personal income and tax-related deductions with SARS. This allows SARS to assess if there were any factors that were not accounted for over the tax year, thus ensuring that the taxpayer is compliant.
For the bulk of personal income taxpayers, July to November is the period to complete and submit their tax returns.
On Monday, the revenue service said that not everyone needs to file an income tax return. Taxpayers do not have to submit an income tax return if their total salary for the year before tax is not more than R350 000.
Taxpayers also need not submit an income tax return if they only receive employment income from one employer for the full year of assessment.
The revenue service also urged taxpayers to ensure that they have all their documents ready when they file their returns. Taxpayers should have their proof of income documents such as their IRP5/IT3 from their employer or pension fund Tax Free Investments certificate(s) IT3, as well as their financial statements among others.
Taxpayers are also reminded to ensure that they have their proof of deduction like medical aid contribution certificates and receipts and retirement annuity contribution certificates, among others, ready for filing.
SARS also reminded taxpayers to bring along their proof of identity such as an ID and a driving license.
When coming to medical deductions, the revenue service urged taxpayers to check the information on their medical aid contribution certificate is correct. If not, contact your medical aid scheme to correct it before you file your tax return.
Qualifying medical out-of-pocket expenses which are not reflected on any medical scheme certificate and that were not claimed from a medical scheme should be indicated next to code 4034.
If a taxpayer, their spouse or qualifying children have been diagnosed with a disability by a duly registered medical practitioner and they want to claim deductions, they have to provide the following information among others:
The date of birth of the qualifying person(s)
The severity of the disability as per the ITR-DD
The date when the most recent Confirmation of Diagnosis of Disability (ITR-DD) certificate was completed
Retirement Annuity Fund Contributions
If you want to claim deductions for retirement annuity contributions you made, you must provide the individual policy number(s) and the name(s) of the insurer(s) or fund(s) of each.
The revenue service on Monday said it will continue to strive towards providing the best services possible to taxpayers during Tax Season. It further encouraged taxpayers to use SARS eFiling to submit their tax returns as it is the quickest and easiest way to submit a return and is available 24 hours.
eFilers requiring assistance can make use of the free Help-You-eFile service by simply clicking on the Help-You-eFile icon on eFiling and following the prompts to get access to a friendly SARS Contact Centre agent who will help them every step of the way while eFiling. This service is available during office hours.
Services to those in remote areas
The revenue service has 53 branches nationwide, 21 mobile tax units that service taxpayers in remote areas of the country and increased efficiency at the SARS Contact Centre. The SARS contact centre will be open from 08:00 to 18:00 during July 2017.
Taxpayers are warned not to fall victim to tax identity fraud. SARS urged taxpayers to protect their taxpayer information, login name and password at all times.
“SARS will never request a taxpayer’s banking details or personal details in any correspondence that they receive via post, email or SMS. SARS will not send them correspondence with hyperlinks to other websites – even those of banks,” said the revenue service.
Taxpayers who are concerned about emails or SMS messages claiming to be from SARS should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 00 2870 or the contact centre on 0800 00 7277.
Taxpayers are urged to complete their returns on time. Non-provisional taxpayers who eFile or submit their returns electronically at a SARS branch have until 24 November 2017 to file. Provisional taxpayers who eFile, have until 31 January 2018 to submit their returns.
Manual submissions through the post or at SARS drop boxes must be made by 22 September 2017.