Here are our top tips for your personal tax return.
1. Get an e-filing profile
If you don’t have an online SARS E-filing profile… get one! Everything is moving to digital these days and submitting your return online has never been easier.
If you have hired a tax practitioner to submit your tax return on your behalf, chances are they will register you for an e-filing profile. You get to avoid those unnecessary ques at a SARS building and have all your tax information at your finger tips.
Note- often you will be required to take in proof of address and confirmation of banking details to a SARS office in order to finalize your registration.
2. File early
Avoid the last minute rush and panic! File your return as early as possible. The tax season opens on the 1st July and depending on your deadline (see below), you are generally afforded a few months to submit. This gives you enough time to get all your documents together and to file an accurate and complete return. Remember that there is the possibility of your return being selected for verification procedures and even an audit thereof. A verification procedure can take anywhere from 21 to 60 business days to resolve. If you have a refund due to you, but have been selected for verification, your refund will not be released until the verification process is completed.
3. Have checklist and keep your slips!
Taxes are an annual event that nobody can avoid… so let’s make it as smooth sailing as possible. I often recommend, and often supply to my clients a checklist of documents that they need to have in order for their tax return to be submitted. At the very least, you can use the prior year’s return as a basis for compiling this list (but remember to include any new items incurred in the current year). As a general rule of thumb, for every item on your tax return, you should have a corresponding document to support/verify the amount.
- An IRP5 (often pre-loaded) verifies your salary and various deductions,.
- An IT3(b) from your bank or investment institution verifies any interest earned (that needs to be disclosed separately on your return)
- A tax certificate from your medical aid verifies the contributions made and expenses not covered by your scheme (you need to have the slips for all expenses that you would like to claim that were paid for in your personal capacity)
- A tax certificate from your retirement annuity/pension funds verify your contributions made and lump-sum withdrawals made
- A log book and related documentation/slips for motor vehicle expenses
4. Consult with a tax practitioner
Get the advise from a professional before filing your return or even consider hiring a tax practitioner to submit your return on your behalf. In order to avoid errors on your return, and the unnecessary stresses of undergoing a over-activation or audit due to incorrect information being supplied, if you are unsure, always consult with a tax practitioner before submitting.
5. Request a calculation
Although the calculation provided on E-filing is not a final assessment of your return by SARS, it does provide a quick indication as to the overall net effect of the information you have submitted on your return and can flag your attention to any obvious errors.
Some important dates…
31st October 2018 – Deadline for all non-provisional taxpayers
31st January 2019- Deadline for all provisional taxpayers