Tax filing tips as deadline looms

The deadline for filing a tax return at a SARS office has already passed, but you can still file via eFiling until Wednesday October 31.

To reduce the number of visitors to their offices, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) recently broadened the criteria for people who aren’t required to submit a tax return.

If your total earnings for the 2018 tax year were no more than R350 000 you might not have to submit a return. However, while the prospect of not having to do your taxes might seem appealing, choosing to forego filing a return could result in you losing out on a potential refund from the tax man. Last year, SARS paid back R19.8 billion in tax refunds.

The deadline for submitting your returns is Wednesday October 31.

As part of their continued focus on financial literacy, Wonga Money Academy outlined some important points about the 2018 tax year.

Not everyone needs to submit a tax return

You do not need to submit a return if your total income for the year (March 2017 to February 2018) was no more than R350 000 before tax. During this period, you must also have only received an income from one employer and not received any additional income such as rent, interest on an investment or a car or travel allowance. You must submit a tax return if you want to claim tax-related reductions or rebates.

Qualifying for a tax rebate

There are a number of tax deductible items that could make you eligible for a refund from SARS. For example, if you contributed to a pension fund, retirement annuity, medical aid scheme or Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) make sure you note these payments in your tax return. To claim a rebate, you must have been issued with a section 18A receipt by the charity.

Use eFiling

If you feel like the deadline has come around quickly, you’d be right. This year, the tax season will be 18 business days shorter than usual, to allow more time for verification before the December holidays.

The deadline for provisional and non-provisional tax payers to submit returns at a SARS branch or by post has already passed, meaning that you will have to submit your return electronically using eFiling. SARS is also encouraging the use of eFiling to alleviate the pressure on its branches, through which 120 000 returns were submitted last year.

The upside is that, provided you have the right documentation, the system is relatively easy to use. If you haven’t done so already visitwww.sarsefiling.co.za to register. You’ll need:

Your IRP5/IT3 certificate, which you will receive from your employer.

Medical aid certificates as well as details of any other medical expenses that weren’t covered by your medical aid.

Pension and retirement annuity certificates.

Your banking details.

Your travel logbook, if you receive a travel allowance.

Tax certificates that you received in respect of an investment income.

Where applicable, an ITR-DD form as confirmation of the diagnosis of a disability.

And any other documentation relating to income you received or deductions you want to claim.

Make sure you meet the deadlines

The eFiling deadline for non-provisional taxpayers, those who only earn a salary, is Wednesday October 31 whereas the deadline for provisional taxpayers, those who earn an additional income over and above their salary, is Thursday January 31 next year.