Tax season is now open – here are the major changes and tips you need to know

South Africa’s tax season for individuals officially opened on Sunday for eFilers, with branches around the country accepting submissions from Monday (2 July).

One of the key changes this year is the shortening of the deadline for non-provisional taxpayers.

“A shorter filing season allows additional time for SARS, taxpayers and the tax fraternity to deal with return verifications before most taxpayers go on the December holiday break,” SARS said in a statement in June.

“Often there are delays with taxpayers having to respond to our queries and requests over the holiday break. The quiet period after the first three months of tax season has now been removed resulting in efficient use of our resources,” it added.

The revised deadlines are as follows:

Channel Deadline Type of taxpayer
Manual (post or at SARS branch) 21 September 2018 Non-provisional and provisional
eFiling or electronic filing at SARS branch 31 October 2018 Non-provisional
eFiling 31 January 2019 Provisional

As part of the launch, SARS also published a number of helpful tips and changes to be aware of before filing.

BusinessTech looked at these, and other things that you need to know when submitting this year’s return.


Who doesn’t need to submit?

According to SARS, you do not need to submit a return if all the criteria below apply to you:

  • Your total employment income/salary for the year (March 2017 to February 2018) before tax (gross income) was not more than R350,000; and
  • You only received employment income/salary for the full year of assessment (March 2017 to February 2018) from one employer; and
  • You have no car allowance/company car/travel allowance or other income (e.g. interest or rental income); and
  • You are not claiming tax related deductions/rebates (e.g. medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions other than pension contributions made by your employer, travel).

Who is a provisional taxpayer?

Any person who receives income (or to whom income accrues) other than a salary is a provisional taxpayer.

Most salary earners are therefore non-provisional taxpayers, if they have no other sources of income.

It is important to note that receiving exempt income, as follows, does not make you a provisional taxpayer:

  • If you receive interest of less than R23,800 if you are under 65; or
  • If you receive interest of less than R34,500 if you are 65 and older or;
  • You have income in a tax free savings account.

How do I use eFiling?

There are currently two ways to retrieve your eFiling login details and reset your password:

  1. Go to SARS eFiling click the green ‘login’ button and follow the prompts.
  2. Call the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277 during office hours. SARS indicated that you should have your ID number and tax reference number on hand. Press service menu option 0 and follow the prompts. Your new password will be sent to you by email or SMS.

If you have not yet registered for eFiling, you must first confirm that you are a  registered taxpayer with a tax reference number.

With this information on-hand, head to SARS eFiling click the ‘register’ button and follow the steps.  SARS said it may need 48 hours to verify and approve your registration you can eFile. It added that if you need to submit documents for your registration, you have 21 business days to do so.


How do I get my tax reference number?

SARS said that it will not provide your tax number to another person, unless the person is your tax practitioner or has power of attorney to conduct your tax affairs.

To get your tax reference number, you can:

  • Get it on eFiling if you are registered as an eFiler. Simply login and locate your number on the Income Tax work page;
  • Request it verbally from the SARS Contact Centre. Have your ID number on hand as we will have to authenticate who you are;
  • Ask your employer for it;
  • Visit your nearest SARS branch. Please take along your ID;
  • Get it on the Notice of Registration you received from the SARS.

Read: How much you need to retire – and how to save on your tax bill

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Tax season is now open – here are the major changes and tips you need to know