SARS has changed the rules for tax returns in South Africa – here’s 3 other things you need to know

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced a number of changes ahead of the start of the 2019 tax season.

Arguably the biggest change made is that taxpayers who earn below R500,000 are no longer required to submit returns.

This is an increase from the previous threshold of R350,000. However, SARS said that taxpayers will need to meet all of the following criteria to qualify:

  • Their total employment income for the year before tax is not more than R500,000
  • They only receive employment income from one employer for the full tax year.
  • They have no other form of income (e.g. car allowance, business income, and rental income, taxable interest or income from another job)
  • They don’t have any additional allowable tax-related deductions to claim (e.g. medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions and travel expenses).

Simulated outcomes and customised notices 

To further reduce unnecessary trips to Sars branches, the revenue collector said that taxpayers who are not required to file a return will receive a simulated outcome from SARS as if they had filed a return.

The taxpayer can accept this outcome or update the return and file.

SARS said that it will begin issuing ‘customised notices’.

These notices will indicate the specific documents required in the event of an audit or verification and a simulated outcome issued before a taxpayer has filed, it said.

Revamped app

SARS said that it has revamped its MobiApp which will make it even easier than before to use a smartphone to file a simple income tax return.

The revamped app includes the following new features:

  • Simpler navigation;
  • The introduction of biometric authentication;
  • A one-time pin as an added security feature;
  • The ability to reset username and password;
  • Security questions;
  • The scanning and uploading of supporting documents.

Dates to know

SARS said that tax Season 2019 starts on 1 August for taxpayers who file their income tax returns at a SARS branch.

“However, taxpayers who go to a SARS branch will be encouraged to register as users of eFiling and the MobiApp,” it said.

“Once they are registered for these two online channels our staff will demonstrate how to use these online channels to file a simple income tax return. SARS branches will provide wi-fi for taxpayers to use eFiling or the MobiApp in our branches.”

Taxpayers who are registered for eFiling or have access to the MobiApp can file their income tax returns from 1 July via these channels.

The closing dates for Tax Season are as follows:

  • 31 October 2019 for branch filing.
  • 4 December 2019 for non-provisional taxpayers who use eFiling and the MobiApp.
  • 31 January 2020 for provisional taxpayers who use eFiling.

Read: If you earn less than R500,000 you no longer have to submit tax returns

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SARS has changed the rules for tax returns in South Africa – here’s 3 other things you need to know