File Photo: Ziphozonke Lushaba/Independent Media.

PRETORIA -  The South African Revenue Service (SARS) on Tuesday announced that all taxpayers whose total employment income is less than R500,000 will not be required to submit their income tax returns this year, but they will still be paying tax.

Edward Kieswetter, SARS Commissioner, said that the revenue service had decided to increase the income tax threshold from R350,000 in a bid to alleviate the burden on taxpayers. 

"We have decided to increase the threshold from R350,000 to an annual earnings of R500,000. And this means you are not required to submit a return if your total income for the year is not more than R500,000," Kieswetter said. 

"So when you have a simple return below R500,000 with no additional complexities, you will not be required to file. And we will send an SMS to this group of taxpayers who are not required to file and we encourage taxpayers to heed this call as it is intended to really simplify matters for them."

Kieswetter also said that taxpayers who would not be required to file their income tax this year included those who only received an income from a single employer; those who have no other form of income such as car allowance, business income, taxable interest, and rental income; and those that do not have any additional deductible income such as medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions, and travel expenses.

SARS also said it has improved online filing and filing at branches with several exciting innovations for Tax Season 2019 to make it simpler and more convenient for taxpayers to file an income tax return.

The innovations also include the issuing of customised notices indicating specific documents required in the event of an audit or verification and a simulated outcome issued before a taxpayer has filed.  

To further reduce unnecessary trips to branches, SARS said taxpayers who are not required to file a return will receive a simulated outcome from SARS as if they had filed a return. The taxpayer can accept this outcome or update the return and file.

Tax Season 2019 starts on August 1, for taxpayers who file their income tax returns at a SARS branch.

- African News Agency (ANA)