10 things you should know about auto-assessments from SARS

The South African Revenue Services (SARS) has published new information around and a FAQ around its auto-assessments.

The auto-assessments will see a significant number of non-provisional taxpayers automatically in August 2020, using third party data.

These taxpayers will receive an outcome via an SMS which will direct them to eFiling or the SARS MobiApp to “accept” or “edit” the outcome.

An auto-assessment which is not specifically accepted, edited or rejected by the taxpayer will automatically be filed on 29 January 2021 if the third party data used to generate the assessment is correct and complete.

Below SARS outlined some of the most commonly asked questions around the auto-assessments, and other information you should know about.


1. After receiving the auto-assessment SMS from SARS, when I login to eFiling, what do I do?

Click on the left menu on “return issued”, then “Personal Income Tax (ITR12)”, then on the top right, click on “request return” for the year 2020.

A pop-up message will be displayed informing you of the auto assessment results. Click “continue” to view the results and summary of the underlying data used for the auto assessment.


2. If I agree with auto-assessment, what should I do?

If you agree with the details of the auto assessment; click the “accept” button. A confirmation message will be displayed, click on “confirm” to complete the auto assessment process.

If you accept the proposed auto assessment results, SARS will automatically submit a tax return on your behalf, and issue a notice of assessment (ITA34). To access the ITA34, click on the “view assessment” tab on the eFiling menu.


3. What if I disagree with the auto-assessment results or the information used by SARS?

Click on the “edit return” button to amend the return. SARS will provide you with a prepopulated return that you can edit and submit.

Once you are satisfied with the information declared, click on the “submit” button. SARS will process the return and issue the notice of assessment.


4. How long will it take to receive my refund if it showed an amount due to me after I’ve accepted it?

For the majority of taxpayers, three working days (72 working hours).


5. What is the timeframe to accept auto assessment?

You have time to accept the auto assessment until 16 November 2020. An estimated assessment will only be issued after 29 January 2021.


6. Why are the amounts between the SMS and SIM01 different?

The amounts on the SMS were based on third-party data available at that time when the tax return was pre-populated. Therefore, taxpayers must check their return and edit it where required.

They should verify that all the information that has been pre-populated is correct and add any additional information that may be required. Additional information will be required to be uploaded as supporting documents.


7. ​I’ve received an SMS from SARS with a negative amount, does this mean I owe SARS money?

No, a negative amount indicates that a refund is due to you.


8. What happens if I do not get an SMS?

Taxpayers can file right now. Taxpayers who file online via eFiling or the SARS MobiApp must file on or before 16 November 2020.

Taxpayers who cannot file electronically can file at selected branches from 1 September – 22 October by appointment only.


​9. I don’t see my medical deductions on the auto-assessment?

Medical aid contributions and additional medical aid expenses are included on rebate under tax calculated.


10. On my IRP5 my pension contribution shows R375,000, but on the auto-assessment, it shows R350,000. Why is there a difference in the amounts?

Retirement Fund contributions are capped at R350,000, so even if your contribution was more, it will remain R350,000 on the auto-assessment.


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10 things you should know about auto-assessments from SARS