If you haven’t yet filed your tax return, you have just days left to do so unless you are a provisional taxpayer.

Tax returns for taxpayers who are not provisional taxpayers must be filed electronically by this Friday, November 23.

The deadline for the submission of paper returns has already passed.

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) says that, to assist you with your return during this final peak filing period, certain SARS branches will be open today from 8am to 1pm.

These SARS branches are

* Gauteng: Randburg, Rissik, Vereeniging, Edenvale, Alberton and Roodepoort;

* Pretoria: Pretoria central business district and Ashlea Gardens;

* KwaZulu-Natal: Durban and Pietermaritzburg;

* Eastern Cape: Mthatha and Port Elizabeth; and

* Western Cape: Cape Town and Bellville.

In addition, the SARS contact centre will extend its hours to assist taxpayers over the next week as follows:

* Monday, November 19 to Friday, November 23: from 8am to 8pm.

SARS says almost 3.7 million income tax returns have already been submitted for the 2012 tax season – an increase of 20 percent over the same period last year.

Including outstanding returns from previous years, the total number of returns submitted since the tax season started on July 1 exceeds 4.5 million.

Only 5 422 returns have been submitted in manual (paper) format, a 75-percent decrease in manual filing compared with the 2011 tax season, SARS says.

SARS says if you haven’t yet filed your tax return, you should do so as soon as possible, as the last-minute rush has already begun.

One day this week more than 27 000 returns were filed. During the last few days of the tax season last year, submissions via eFiling and at SARS branches reached 100 000 a day.

Don’t forget that if you need help while eFiling, you can use the Help-You-eFile function. A SARS official can shadow your eFiling session and talk to you on the phone to assist you while you complete your return. This year, you can also eFile via a mobile device.

Provisional taxpayers who file their returns via eFiling have until Thursday, January 31 next year to submit returns.

For help with filing a return, call the SARS contact centre on 0800 00 7277, or visit a SARS branch.