Tax return season is upon us… but Sars has done most of the work

Filing tax returns. Picture: Pinterest

Those who accept Sars’s draft assessment, about which they will receive SMSs on Saturday, 1 August, won’t have to complete and file a tax return.

Individual taxpayers have to start filing their tax returns when the season opens on Saturday, 1 August 2020. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Sars has made the process easier than normal, and will be doing most of the legwork itself.

On 1 August, “a significant number of taxpayers can expect to receive a SMS that Sars has prepared their tax returns for them, and that a draft assessment is available on eFiling or Mobiapp to consider,” Sars said in a statement.

Those who accept the draft assessment, won’t have to complete and file a tax return.

“If a refund is due, the refund will follow within the first week of August,” Sars said.

“We refer to this as the ‘auto-assessment’ process.  A taxpayer will be eligible for auto-assessment if their respective third-party data providers have filed all third-party data in respect of that taxpayer.”

Third-party data providers include employers, medical schemes, retirement annuity funds and banks, who had to file their data to Sars on or before 31 May.

“Taxpayers who, for example, have not yet received their IPR5 certificates are advised to immediately approach their employers and insist that the IPR5s are issued to them.

“During August, taxpayers who have not yet been auto-assessed but in respect of whom a complete set of third-party data has subsequently become available, will be invited by Sars to file early.”

The fourth phase of filing Season 2020 starts on 1 September 2020.  Taxpayers who have not been auto-assessed, or who have not accepted an auto-assessment, can then start to file via eFiling or MobiApp.

“Taxpayers who cannot file through any of our digital platforms will be permitted to visit a Sars branch by appointment only,” Sars said.

Sars has encouraged all taxpayers to continue to “use the ever-evolving digital channels in order to transact with Sars”.

“As stated by Commissioner Edward Kieswetter: ‘During the time when our country is still battling the scourge of Covid-19, we hope taxpayers will take advantage of these innovations aimed at making it easier and faster for taxpayers to comply with their tax obligations,'” Sars concluded.

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