The South African Revenue Services (SARS) announced that it will be reducing the amount of time taxpayers have to file returns in the upcoming tax season. Tax Season 2018 will be shortened by three weeks and will run from 1 July to 31 October.
This will have a direct impact on individual non-provisional taxpayers, and will also apply to provisional taxpayers who opt to manually file at a SARS branch – meaning that provisional taxpayers who use eFiling will have until 31 January 2019 to submit their personal income tax, while those who file manually must submit by 21 September 2018.
“A shorter filing season allows additional time for SARS, taxpayers and the tax fraternity to deal with return verifications before most taxpayers go on the December holiday break,” SARS said in a statement released on Monday. “Often there are delays with taxpayers having to respond to our queries and requests over the holiday break. The quiet period after the first three months of tax season has now been removed resulting in efficient use of our resources.”
The revenue service has also sent personalised communications directly to taxpayers, informing them who will not have to submit a return. In 2017, 1.6 million South Africans submitted tax returns who were not required to, with 1.8 million South Africans doing the same thing in 2016 as well.
A taxpayer will not be required to submit a tax return if he or she meets all the following criteria:
– The taxpayer’s total employment income/salary for the year of assessment (March 2017 to February 2018) before tax was no more than R350,000;
– Employment income/salary for the year of assessment was received from one employer;
– The taxpayer has no other form of income (e.g. car allowance, company car fringe benefit, business income, taxable interest or rental income or income from another job);
– The taxpayer does not want to claim for any additional allowable tax-related deductions or rebates (e.g. medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions, travel expenses, etc).
Mark Kingon, SARS acting commissioner, has also encouraged taxpayers to make use of the eFiling system. “We will support eFilers with the Help-You-eFile service which connects the taxpayer to one of our tax agents in real time via the contact centre while both are online. The taxpayer is then assisted each step of the way,” he said.
As with previous years, administrative penalties will be handed to taxpayers for late submissions.