SARS is making small but important tax changes – what you should know

Although the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has issued several press statements around tax filing season starting on 1 July 2022, it has taken a few proactive steps that mean the filing window is already effectively open, says specialist firm Tax Consulting SA.

The firm said that this is further signs of progress under Edward Kieswetter, with the SARS commissioner quoted multiple times in the media over the past few years expressing ‘the journey of rebuilding SARS’, he has been focused on and his wish to ‘build public trust and confidence in the tax administration system’.

“By the recently-shown proactiveness, Kieswetter is definitely growing the trust and gaining the backing of taxpayers and tax professionals within the industry,” Tax Consulting SA said.

“Although tax season only officially opens on Friday, 1 July 2022, individual taxpayers can already submit their tax returns for the 2022 season. This might not seem significant, but with a current population of 60,789,137 – of which roughly 40% actively pays personal income tax each year – the extra four days make a massive difference, not only for the revenue authority but individuals alike.”

The firm noted that SARS is also giving itself a couple of days’ grace to make up for the shortened filing season, with the tax-filing season ending on 24 October 2022 as opposed to in November. This has raised concerns as to whether SARS will have enough time to validate and audit these returns, Tax Consulting SA said.

Third-party data change

Third Parties like banks, medical schemes, fund administrators etc. are required by law to send information or data to SARS.

On 1 June 2022, SARS reported that 99% of the required third-party data submissions had been received on or before the due date (31 May 2022) and proceeded to thank those third-party data providers that made their submissions.

This information supplied by the third parties is then used to pre-populate data on the SARS e-filing platform and include amongst others medical aid certificates and employment certificates (IRP5).

“What is new is that taxpayers are now able to view their third-party data certificates submitted by third-party data providers on their behalf. This further adds to the streamlined process as well as being able to check the accuracy of this data,” Tax Consulting SA said.

“Can we safely say that gone are the days of trying to track down all your tax certificates from third-party providers? We truly hope so but only time will tell.”

Tax filing season ends on 24 October 2022, and we can safely say, it is open?! Kudos to SARS and Kieswetter on, albeit small, bringing positive change.

Read: This is the average salary in South Africa right now – and what people actually take home after tax

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SARS is making small but important tax changes – what you should know