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SARS Tax Filing Season 2024: Dates and Auto-Assessment Process

SARS Tax Filing Season 2024: Dates and Auto-Assessment Process

Villet Overstrand (Pty) Ltd

SARS Tax Filing Season 2024: Dates and Auto-Assessment Process

It’s time to give Sars some attention. Tax filing season is fast approaching.

Sars will start issuing auto-assessment notices for taxpayers with simple tax affairs on 1 July, with the tax season for trusts kicking off in September.

The annual scramble to find all the relevant information necessary to file income tax returns for individuals and trusts is about to start. The South African Revenue Service (Sars) has announced the dates for the start of Filing Season 2024. 

Auto-assessment notices for taxpayers with simple tax affairs will start on 1 July and continue until 14 July. The filing season for taxpayers with slightly more complex tax affairs and provisional taxpayers (those earning income other than remuneration, such as interest or rental income) kicks off on 15 July. Trusts can start filing their returns from 16 September. 

Individual taxpayers remain the largest source of tax revenue, and more than seven million individuals were supposed to file tax returns in the 2022/23 tax year. Personal income tax represents almost 36% of the total revenue collections.

Read: Sars collects an ‘unexpected’ extra R10bn

Sars collected R2.07 trillion in gross tax revenue in 2022/23 and paid refunds worth R381 billion, which was 18.7% or R60 billion more than the prior year.  

 
Auto-assessment process 

The auto-assessment process started two years ago. More than 3.5 million taxpayers were auto-assessed last year. The assessment is based on the data provided to Sars by employers, financial institutions, medical schemes, retirement annuity fund administrators and other third-party data providers such as estate agents.

Jenny Klein, principal associate in ENSafrica’s tax practice, and colleague Barry Knoetze advise taxpayers to carefully check the auto assessments to ensure that all their income is correctly reflected.

Read: Filing your tax return correctly and in time

They should also ensure that all deductions to which they may be entitled, such as contributions to retirement annuity funds, medical aid schemes, and any tax-deductible donations, are correctly captured.

Nokukhanya Madilonga, senior tax manager at SNG Grant Thornton, says taxpayers can compare the information on their tax certificates with the 2024 income tax return to verify whether the return includes all their tax certificates and that the amounts are correct.

 
What to do or not

“Last year, taxpayers did not have to accept the auto assessment like the previous year if they agreed. We believe the same will happen this year,” says Madilonga. 

If the auto assessment results in a tax debt to Sars, taxpayers should note the due date for payment. Late payments result in a penalty being raised and interest being levied on the penalty amount each month (or part thereof) from the due date until the payment is made.

Listen:

Sars auto assessment: double-check before double-clicking

Sars clarifies auto assessment

The deadline for non-provisional taxpayers is 21 October; for provisional taxpayers and trusts, it is 20 January next year.

Klein says taxpayers do not have to do anything if they agree with the auto assessment; they only have to pay any taxes owed before the due date or await any refund that may be due to them from Sars.

Knoetze adds that should a taxpayer disagree with the auto assessment, they have until the due date of 21 October 2024 to file the correct tax return.

 
Additional income and deductions

Madilonga warns that taxpayers should not accept an auto assessment if they have to declare additional income, such as rental or foreign income, or if they wish to claim tax deductions that will not appear on their auto assessment.

This includes qualifying home office expenses, donations to charities, and travel and medical expenses they paid personally.

She also advises taxpayers who made use of the solar rebate of 25% of the cost of new and unused solar panels to declare it on their tax return.

The incentive was limited to R15 000 per individual and will be allowed for panels brought into use for the first time in the period 1 March 2023 to 29 February 2024.

Klein notes that even if a taxpayer was auto-assessed last year, this does not necessarily mean they will be auto-assessed for the 2024 tax year.

 
Non-compliance

Taxpayers should check whether they are liable to submit an annual tax return, and ensure that even if they do not receive an auto assessment, they submit a tax return if required to do so. Sars offers guidance on filing obligations on its website

“Ensure that you declare all your income as Sars may have information from your bank accounts through the use of artificial intelligence,” says Madilonga.

Read: Sars knows what’s happening in your bank account

She also advises taxpayers to notify Sars of any changes to their personal information, such as address and contact information. If they have forgotten their eFiling password, they can reset it now before the filing season starts. 

Jashwin Baijoo, head of compliance at Tax Consulting SA, says if there has been non-compliance, it is imperative to ensure a timely response to Sars with all the correct supporting documentation. 

He adds that failure to cross this hurdle, or where taxpayers have made an incorrect disclosure, may result in additional assessments or understatement penalties.

Read:

Sars is not always right
Sars’s AI-enhanced audit capabilities wreaking havoc on taxpayers
Sars’s high-wealth unit is weaponising requests for relevant material

Source: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/

SARS Tax Filing Season 2024: Dates and Auto-Assessment Process

Villet Overstrand (Pty) Ltd

Villet Overstrand (Pty) Ltd is a branch of one of the leading accounting firms in the Overberg and offers businesses and individuals a host of accounting services that can be tailored to each client’s specific needs. These services include but are not limited to advisory, accounting, taxation and ...

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