Income tax filing season for individuals for the tax year to February 2017 is now open. 

If you’re filing electronically, via eFiling, you can do so already. If you need to visit a branch of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) or contact its call centre, you’ll have to wait until Monday, July 3.

The season is open for provisional and non-provisional taxpayers, but there are different deadlines. These are:

• September 22. All taxpayers who are not using eFiling and must post their completed forms or drop them at a SARS branch.

• November 24. Non-provisional taxpayers using eFiling or filing electronically at a SARS branch.

• January 31, 2018. Provisional taxpayers using eFiling.

According to information on its website (www.sars.gov.za), SARS has introduced some changes to the ITR12 income tax return forms of which you need to be aware:

• Medical expenditure. If your employer paid your medical scheme contributions on your behalf, the amount will appear on your IRP5/IT3 (a) certificate, but SARS will not use this amount in calculating your assessment. You must complete the medical expenses section on your ITR12 using the information on the tax certificate you receive from your medical scheme.

• Retirement annuity fund contributions. To claim deductions, you must provide the policy numbers and the names of the product providers or funds.

• Income distributed/vested as a beneficiary of a trust. If you received income as a beneficiary of a trust, the trust details, as well as details about local and foreign income derived from the trust, must be provided. Income from more than one trust must not be combined; the income from each trust must be declared separately.

• Disability. Additional information of each qualifying person with a disability needs to be completed on the ITR12. If you, your spouse or qualifying child have been diagnosed with a disability by a duly registered medical practitioner and you want to claim deductions, you have to provide the following information for each qualifying person: his or her date of birth; the date when the most recent Confirmation of Diagnosis of Disability (ITR-DD) certificate was completed by a medical practitioner; the severity of the disability according to the ITR-DD; and the practice number of the registered medical practitioner who completed the ITR-DD.

• South African residency status. Taxpayers will have to indicate, where applicable, on which date during the year of assessment they ceased to be a South African resident.

• Employment status. Taxpayers who were unemployed for the full year of assessment and received no form of income (including no capital gains/losses) will need to indicate this on the ITR12. Taxpayers who were unemployed for any period during the year of assessment will have to indicate the periods of unemployment.   

 Taxpayer verification system

SARS has implemented additional security measures at its branches for taxpayers who need to change their registered personal details. 

Registered details include banking details, identity number, surname, full names, initials, trading name of a business, registered name of a business, registration number of a business, postal and physical addresses, email address, telephone and cellphone numbers, and marital status. If any of these details have changed, you need to go to a SARS branch where your identity will be verified. You will need to provide your identity document. Your photograph will be taken and your fingerprint scanned, and SARS will check this information with the Department of Home Affairs to make sure it corresponds with its records.

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