The South African Revenue Service’s 2022 Tax Filing Season opens tomorrow, July 1. This year, over three million individual non-provisional taxpayers have been auto-assessed by SARS and will not have to file a tax return if they are satisfied with the assessment.
In a statement released this week, SARS says technology, data, artificial intelligence and algorithms have enabled SARS to make it easy and seamless for most individual taxpayers to comply with their obligations. “At the same time, technology has also enabled SARS to significantly sharpen its capability to detect non-compliance and to make such non-compliance hard and costly. SARS will impose penalties on taxpayers that deliberately attempt to claim impermissible expenses or understate their income as well as administrative non-compliance penalties to those taxpayers that do not adhere to the applicable deadlines of this filing season.”
SARS says that, from July 1, it will communicate directly with you by SMS and/or email, notifying you of your auto-assessment. You can access the auto assessment through any of SARS’s channels, such as the SARS MobiApp or SARS efiling. If you are satisfied with the auto assessment, you don’t have to do anything further and the process terminates at this point. However, if you find that there is missing or inaccurate information pertaining to either income or expenses, which may have affected the assessment, it must be declared to SARS within 40 business days of the auto-assessment notification by submitting an updated tax return to SARS. SARS will process the return and issue a revised assessment, which may result in a different financial obligation, such as reduced refund, increased refund or payment due to SARS.
Non-provisional taxpayers who do not receive an auto-assessment and who are required to file a return must do so by October 24. Provisional taxpayers have until January 23 to file their returns.
SARS says taxpayers are urged to wait for the email and SMS and not to visit SARS branches during the first week of July. Thereafter, those who prefer to visit SARS branches are reminded to please make a booking on its appointment system to ensure an efficient service experience. This can be done either by sending an SMS to 47277 with the word “Booking” followed by a space and then your ID or passport number, or going to the SARS website (www.sars.gov.za) and clicking on the “Book an Appointment” icon. Tax practitioners are urged to strictly use their channel when booking an appointment.
You can also use the SMS number 47277 to request a tax reference number, find out if you need to submit a return and get a statement of account (see the SARS website for more details).