SARS Information

SARS is making major changes to the tax season, here is what you need to know:

SARS recently announced the relevant dates in respect of the 2020 filing season for individuals. There are some significant procedural changes this year, most noteworthy of which is the new auto-assessment procedure for non-provisional taxpayers.

As part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic ,SARS has rapidly enhanced its efforts to simplify filing requirements for individual taxpayers this year.

SARS will use third -party data to complete your tax return for you ,only where applicable, thereafter a proposed assessment will be issued based on the data available to SARS.
From 1 August 2020, SARS will be issuing auto-assessments to notify you of your assessment/s results via SMS. (Not all taxpayers will receive proposed auto assessments)
You will then have the opportunity to either accept the outcome as per the proposed assessment ,or to edit the return based on the applicable information and records available to you.

In other words, the tax assessment will be issued before you have the opportunity to submit your income tax return.
Further to the above ,you should expect to receive various notifications of communications issued via e-filing etc. , to notify you of third-party tax certificates received by SARS, with the message that such income must be reflected as part of your income tax return submission.

The information used by SARS to calculate the auto-assessment will include, tax certificates issued by third parties such as employers, financial institutions, medical aid funds and retirement annuity funds.

The use of existing data collection processes to reduce the administrative burden on individual taxpayers is a welcome initiative by SARS, which reflects global best practice in tax administration , however, taxpayers still have the responsibility of reviewing their auto-assessments and ensuring that they are correct in all material respects.

They are also responsible for communicating with the relevant third parties in the event that any third-party information is incorrect.

We further expect that SARS’ responses in respect of disputes and complaints that need to be dealt with through the SARS call centre and e-mail channels are also likely to be delayed, particularly given SARS’ ongoing capacity constraints during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is unclear at this stage how much time taxpayers will be given to edit their auto-assessments, but it does not appear as if an auto-assessment will become final unless the taxpayer accepts it.

Our advice:
We suggest ,that If you were selected as part of the auto-assessment process ,that we continue to review and edit your return where applicable in order to prevent the proposed assessment to be enforced.

We therefore recommend that our clients should ensure that the auto-assessments received from SARS is carefully reviewed and that all applicable data is relevant and correct before accepting the proposed assessment from SARS.

Please forward all relevant communication from SARS ,directly to our office before any further action is taken.

We will treat the auto proposed assessments as any other normal income tax calculation ,and submission before that – by reviewing the data available to us ,adding or making the changes where applicable and then only proceed with submission ,after consulting with our client regarding the applicable result /outcome of the calculation.

Filing season will officially open on 01/09/2020.

Individual income tax return filing dates:

  • 1 September to 16 November 2020: Taxpayers who file online
  • 1 September to 22 October 2020: Taxpayers who cannot file electronically can do so at a SARS branch by appointment
  • 1 September 2020 to 29 January 2021: Provisional taxpayers who file electronically.

Please contact our office for further information.

Kind Regards.
Johan Booysen.