The South African Revenue Services (SARS) has announced that taxpayers will be able to file their tax returns from 1 July 2021 onwards.
Here are the important dates you should take note of:
- 1 July 2021: tax filing opens
- 23 November 2021: deadline for taxpayers who file online
- 31 January 2022: deadline for provisional taxpayers, including trusts, who file via eFiling or the SARS MobiApp.
Auto-assessment vs normal tax filing
As was the case in 2020, a large number of individual taxpayers will be auto-assessed this year. The auto-assessment process will start from July onwards, with the relevant taxpayers being notified via SMS. However, not all taxpayers will receive an auto-assessment. Most taxpayers will still be required to file their tax returns, as in a typical tax year.
“SARS auto-assesses taxpayers based on the data it receives from employers, financial institutions, medical schemes, retirement annuity fund administrators and other third-party data providers,” explains Leras Uys, director of HGG Paarl, one of the three practices which constitute HGG Professional Accountants.
Accept or edit
If you do receive an auto-assessment, you will be given two options: accept or edit.
If you accept the auto-assessment, it is not necessary to file a tax return. However, Uys advises against accepting these auto-assessments without careful consideration.
“It’s important to first analyse your auto-assessment and seek professional advice, as the auto-assessment will not necessarily represent your optimal tax position,” he says.
If a taxpayer chooses to edit the auto-assessment, accounting firms can provide invaluable advice.
“We will consider all the options to ensure that we haven’t missed any opportunities for you to make any additional claims,” he says. “For example, by accepting the auto-assessment, you will lose out on claiming for extra medical expenses, logbook mileage, capital losses and article 18A donations.”
Get sound tax advice
“It’s important to remember that auto-assessment doesn’t imply that SARS regards your tax filing as final. If SARS receives additional information pertaining to your tax at a later stage, they could query your acceptance of the auto-assessment. It’s therefore vital to be extra cautious before accepting these assessments.”
This is why it’s essential to have an experienced tax professional in your corner. “HGG Professional Accountants can give you comprehensive tax advice and help you optimise your tax return by considering all available options. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have queries relating to your auto-assessment, or if you would like us to analyse and optimise your tax return,” says Uys.
What should I do now?
Although filing only opens on 1 July 2021, you can prepare ahead, so that your filing process goes smoothly when the time arrives.
“Collect all relevant documents, such as your IRP5/IT3(a)s and other tax certificates like medical certificates, retirement annuity fund certificates and any other supporting documentation that is relevant to your tax calculation, for example capital gains, donations, travel logbook and extra medical expenses. If applicable, it will also be beneficial to supply a summary of all rental/contractor income and expenditure,” advises Uys.
Make sure all your personal information, such as banking details, address and contact details, is up to date on eFiling or the SARS MobiApp.