SARS explains what happens to your taxes when you die in South Africa

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has published a new explanatory note on what happens to a deceased person’s tax obligation.

When a taxpayer dies, all his or her assets on the date of death will be placed in an estate, the revenue collector said. Assets in a deceased estate can among other things include immovable property and movable property, cash in the bank, etc.

“The person who administers a deceased estate is called an ‘executor’. Once the Executor has finalised all the administration in the deceased estate, the remaining assets, after paying all the debts, will be distributed to the beneficiaries,” it said.

“The executor is the representative taxpayer of the deceased person’s estate, and is required to submit the outstanding returns up to the date of death of the deceased person.”

How do I get the process started to make SARS aware of an estate?

SARS said that there are two options at this stage to report a new Estate Case to SARS:

To report a new Estate Case to SARS, it is important that the correct supporting documentation be submitted to SARS, the revenue collector said. This information can be found here.

Update of the estate’s representative taxpayer details

The nominated representative taxpayer of the estate, such as an executor, needs to ensure that the necessary official appointment documents are furnished to SARS for the details regarding the estate’s representative taxpayer to be updated.

“This is vitally important, in the course of the estate initiation and finalisation process, as all communication regarding tax enquiries, eFiling matters and estates compliance is sent to the correct email address,” SARS said.

“As such, all representative taxpayers should ensure that their personal tax profile with SARS is up to date and reflects the correct contact details and email address. ”

No changes and amendments to the representative taxpayer’s profile shall be done at the time of updating the relationship between the estate and the representative taxpayer, it said.

“Updates to the representative taxpayer’s personal taxpayer profile can be done via the available electronic channels. Corporate stakeholders (Executor / Trustee/Liquidator/Curator) who nominate their employees as the appointed executor of an estate, by the Master of the High Court, should ensure that these employees’ personal tax profile with SARS is updated and current.

“Their contact details and email address are critical in ensuring direct communication and smooth facilitation of the SARS Estates processes.  These updates and changes, as may be required, cannot be done as part of the estate process.  Employees need to follow the generally prescribed channels to effect such updates and changes.”

You can find out more about estates and taxes here.


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SARS explains what happens to your taxes when you die in South Africa