This job in South Africa is in danger

 ·19 Sep 2023

If filling out forms is part of your job description in South Africa, it’s time to broaden your skillset – because it’s not going to last.

This is according to Anton Krynauw, Managing Director of Krycom, an eFiling expert who has been involved with the South African Revenue Service’s digital platforms since its inception in 2002.

Speaking at the South Africa Institute of Taxation’s Tax Indaba held last week, Krynauw said that the advances in automated data processing have put one of the critical aspects of administrating under pressure.

Many tax practitioners – and other fields involving data – have their services secured by doing what clients do not want to do: filling in forms.

However, Krynauw said that this task is disappearing. “If that’s your job, it’s in danger,” he said.

For tax practitioners specifically, the job of simply filling in forms and tax returns for clients is going away fast, largely thanks to advances at SARS with its auto-assessments.

SARS now taps into third-party data and fills out tax returns (aka an auto-assessment) on behalf of taxpayers, which are then accepted and processed much faster than before.

However, Krynauw said that this does not mean the end of the road for manual data processing – it just means that the job has to evolve.

For tax practitioners, this means moving from filling in forms to reviewing the documents that have been auto-completed and focusing on substantiating the data.

While SARS has touted the auto-assessments as a game-changing process for dealing with tax returns, Krynauw said that, in many cases, it has made the tax space more complicated.

For example, when an auto-assessment is incorrect or does not contain all the necessary data, it falls to manual processes to challenge, correct, and redo the entire process. He said this is a lot of work for clients with more complex tax affairs.

Because of this, the job of practitioners has to change – the model has to change, he said.

“SARS isn’t getting rid of tax practitioners, but they have to evolve in their role,” he said.

Tax season for individuals is currently open until 23 October. Taxpayers have until that date to challenge their auto-assessments.

With auto-assessments, taxpayers are notified by SMS or email if they are selected to receive an auto-assessment.

Once the notification is received, the next step is to review the auto-assessment on the SARS MobiApp or eFiling.

If you agree with the auto-assessment

  • No further action is required.
  • If a refund is due, you can expect it within approximately seventy-two (72) hours, provided your banking details with SARS are correct.  
  • If you owe SARS, you must make the payment before the due date shown on your Notice of Assessment (ITA34) to avoid interest charged on outstanding debt.
  • You can make payment via eFiling or SARS MobiApp, among other payment options.

If you disagree with the auto-assessment

  • Auto-assessed taxpayers have until 23 October 2023 to amend and file their return on eFiling or the SARS MobiApp if they disagree with the auto-assessment received.

According to SARS, only auto-assessed individuals will receive the SMS or email. All others must submit their Personal Income Tax Return (ITR12) manually.

Read: SARS updates tax payment rules – changes for banks in South Africa

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