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CAPE TOWN - As the annual tax filing season opened, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene on Monday said government was deeply committed to stabilising the South African Revenue Service to a credible operation and making sure it met collection targets.

"There can be no mission more important than stabilising and restoring Sars into an institution that is credible in the eyes of the South African public," Nene said.

He said the finance ministry would support Sars to fulfill its work while the commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance at the revenue service, as well as the disciplinary hearing into the conduct of suspended commissioner Tom Moyane were under way.

Tax season for eFilers opened on Sunday and branches around the country stared accepting submissions today.

A major change this year is that Sars has shortened the deadline for non-provisional taxpayers.

“A shorter filing season allows additional time for Sars, taxpayers and the tax fraternity to deal with return verifications before most taxpayers go on the December holiday break,” Sars said.

“Often there are delays with taxpayers having to respond to our queries and requests over the holiday break. The quiet period after the first three months of tax season has now been removed resulting in efficient use of our resources,” it added.

THE NEW DEADLINES:
Manual (post or at Sars branch) 21 September 2018 Non-provisional and provisional
eFiling or electronic filing at Sars branch
31 October 2018 Non-provisional
eFiling 31 January 2019 Provisional

WHAT DO I NEED TO SUBMIT? 

Sars has listed the below criteria for people who do not need to submit a tax return 

1. If you earn an income or salary before tax for the year March 2017 to February 2018 was not more that R350 000. 

2. You received this income, March 2017 to February 2018), from one employer. 

3. You do not get a car allowance, company car/travel allowance or other income such as a rental income. 

4. You do not claim tax deductions or rebates, such as medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions other than pension contributions made by your employer, and travel.

AM I A PROVISIONAL TAXPAYER? 

Sars stated that a provisional taxpayer is any person that receives income (or to whom income accrues) other than a salary. Most salary earners are non-provisional taxpayers, because they do not have another source of income. 

Sars makes it very clear that if you receive an 'exempt income' (you get interest of less than R23,800 if you are under 65 or receive interest of less than R34,500 if you are 65 and older or, if  have income in a tax free savings account), you are still not a not provisional taxpayer.

SARS AND ITS CREDIBILITY 

On Tuesday Nene said "We should allow the two processes to run their course. The ministry of finance and National Treasury continue to work with the Sars management team to ensure that the institution stays the course and delivers on its mandate."

"It is doubtful that there is any single agency in government whose operational performance is more critical to the work of government than Sars. It is common knowledge that government would not be able to meet its social objectives without the taxes and other revenues that are collected by Sars... All I can promise you is that Sars is too important an institution and we shall do all in our power to ensure that it lives up to its mandate."

Nene thanked acting commissioner Mark Kingon "for holding the fort and for providing excellent leadership to the men and women of this wonderful organisation".

-BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE