South Africa’s tax season is now open – here are the big changes you should know about

 ·1 Jul 2022

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has launched the 2022 income tax season for individuals, with the revenue authority noting that it has made ‘significant changes’ to filing this year.

The biggest change comes through SARS’ auto assessment programme. An auto assessment is based on data received from employers, medical aids, banks, retirement annuity funds, etc.

Once SARS has completed the auto assessment, it will notify the taxpayer by SMS or email, and the taxpayer will be able to view it on the eFiling website or the SARS MobiApp. Taxpayers can view the third-party data that was used to prepopulate the return to check that the data is correct.

If the taxpayer is satisfied that the auto assessment is correct and contains all relevant information, and a refund is due, they do not need to take any action to “submit” the assessment.

If they are satisfied it is correct, but they are due to make a payment to SARS, they must do so within the payment due date specified on the Notice of Assessment (ITA34).

“This year over three million taxpayers have been auto-assessed by SARS and will not have to file a tax return if they are satisfied with the outcome. If you are in the auto-assessment group, you will receive a notification from SARS during the first few days of July,” the group said.

You can view the auto-assessment by:

Branch visits 

SARS has also urged taxpayers to not visit its branches during the first week of July.

“Those who still prefer to visit SARS branches are reminded to please make a booking on our appointment system or by sending an SMS to 47277 with the word Booking (Space) ID number/Passport number/ Asylum Seeker number.

“Tax practitioners are urged to strictly use their channel when booking an appointment. Taxpayers can also use the SMS number 47277 to request a tax reference number, find out if you need to submit a return and get a statement of account.”

Do I have to submit a return?

SARS has established a dedicated page outlining who does and does not have to submit a return this tax season.

Individuals who receive taxable income in excess of a specific amount, known as the ‘tax threshold’ amount, in a year of assessment are liable for income tax.

The tax threshold for the 2023 year of assessment is:

  • R91,250 if you are younger than 65 years.
  • If you are 65 years of age to below 75 years, the tax threshold (i.e. the amount above which income tax becomes payable) is R141,250.
  • For taxpayers aged 75 years and older, this threshold is R157,900.

If you earn below these thresholds, you are not liable to pay tax.

To determine whether or not your income falls under or above these thresholds, SARS provided a breakdown of some of the different kinds of income that an individual can be taxed on, including:

  1. Income from employment such as salaries, wages, bonuses, overtime, taxable benefits (fringe benefits) and allowances;
  2. Severance benefits and certain lump-sum benefits;
  3. Income from a business or trade;
  4. Income or profits arising from an individual being a beneficiary of a trust;
  5. Fees from companies or close corporations for services rendered;
  6. Investment income such as interest, foreign dividends and dividends from a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT);
  7. Rental income;
  8. Income from royalties;
  9. Annuities;
  10. Pensions; and
  11. Certain capital gains.

I need my tax number

SARS said that taxpayers can find their tax number by registering through their eFiling platform.

If you have forgotten your tax number you can request it from SARS in various ways:

  • Send a query and ensure your details match our records.
  • You can get it on eFiling if you are registered as an eFiler. All you need to do is log on and check your number.
  • You can also request your notice of registration via the MobiApp if you are a registered eFiler.
  • eFiling has been updated to allow taxpayers to request the Notice of Registration (IT150) under the ‘SARS Registered Details’ menu option.
  • At a SARS branch. Remember to make an appointment before you visit a branch.

Read: 3 scenarios for the rand in South Africa – and where it’s heading for the rest of 2022

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