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Sars kicks off tax season

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

The South African Revenue Services is encouraging people to move away from paper and eFile. File photo: INLSA

WHILE the annual tax season opened on Sunday, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said yesterday that government was “deeply committed to stabilising the SA Revenue Service (Sars) into 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 added that the finance ministry would support Sars to fulfil 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 started accepting submissions yesterday.

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,”

The new deadlines are September 21, 2018 for annual (post or at Sars branch), October 31, 2018 for non-provisional eFiling or electronic filing at Sars branch and January, 2019 for provisional eFiling.

Sars has listed the following criteria for people who do not need to submit a tax return: If you earn an income or salary before tax for the year March 2017 to February 2018 that was not more than R350 000; you received this income, March 2017 to February 2018, from one employer; you do not get a car allowance, company car/travel allowance or other income such as a rental income; and if 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.

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 you have income in a tax free savings account), you are still not a provisional taxpayer.

At the Kimberley Sars office an early-morning “rush” saw taxpayers wanting to “get their tax returns out of the way as soon as possible”, while the crowd dwindled by mid-afternoon, leaving the office with not as much of a queue.