SARS has sent a ‘warning’ letter to taxpayers – here’s what it says

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) sent a letter to stakeholders this week, warning that it plans to get tougher on non-compliant taxpayers in South Africa.

The revenue collector said that this is part of a strategic objective of making non-compliance difficult and costly and that it is ‘imperative’ that it enhances its ability to impose administrative penalties in a more responsive manner.

“With effect from 1 December 2021, SARS has been empowered to levy a late submission of return penalty where one or more personal income tax returns are outstanding. As a transitional measure for the first year, the one tax return or more rule will only apply to the 2021 tax return,” it said.

“Prior to 1 December 2021, SARS could only levy a late submission of return penalty where two or more outstanding tax returns. This older rule will remain in place for one more year for 2020 and earlier returns.”

Auto-assessments

SARS has also urged South Africans to ensure that they accept their auto-assessments and meet the deadline for individual non-provisional taxpayers on 23 November 2021.

In July 2021, SARS used the data received from employers and other third-party data providers to issue simulated assessments to a significant number of non-provisional individual taxpayers.

“As part of the auto-assessment process, SARS requests taxpayers to either accept or edit the simulated assessment via eFiling or the SARS MobiApp, which is then followed by an original assessment issued by SARS. A large number of taxpayers have already either accepted or edited their simulated assessments and received an original assessment from SARS,” it said.

Taxpayers in the auto-assessment population, who neither accepted nor edited and submitted their simulated assessments by this date, will receive an original assessment based on an estimate per section 95 of the Tax Administration Act, the revenue collector said.

This assessment is not subject to objection and appeal, it warned.

“However, a taxpayer who is not in agreement with his or her assessment may file a complete and accurate tax return within 40 business days of the assessment date. Such a return will be late, which means that normal late submission penalties and interest, where applicable, will apply.”


Read: New taxes on the cards for South Africa

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SARS has sent a ‘warning’ letter to taxpayers – here’s what it says