The annual tax season commenced on 1 July and is in full swing. For most taxpayers, this time of the year is usually associated with a considerable amount of stress as they deal with the pressure of having to file returns by a deadline and then worry about whether and how much they will have to pay over to the government in taxes.
Then there is also the ever-present fear of being audited, which adds another layer of anxiety to the mix.
This year, however, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has tried to alleviate the pressure on individual taxpayers by issuing auto-assessments for the 2022 tax filing season. This means that individual taxpayers won’t have to file a tax return, but only if they agree with the assessment.
“The assessments are calculated using information received from employers, medical aid schemes, banks, pension, provident and retirement annuity funds, and other institutions,” explains Ian McAlister, GM of human resources and payroll company CRS Technologies.
Taxpayers who have been auto-assessed will receive an SMS or email notification that their assessment is ready to view on eFiling or the SARS MobiApp.
“It is imperative that taxpayers check their email spam or junk folder to make sure they don’t miss the notification,” McAlister warns.
If you are happy with the assessment and a refund is due to you, then all you have to is wait for it to reflect in your bank account, which takes about 72 hours. If you owe SARS, payment can be made via eFiling or the SARS MobiApp.”
The good news is that all auto-assessments issued by SARS have already undergone risk screening, which means the revenue authority won’t initiate any verifications, audits or recalls.
“The only exceptions will be those instances where banks have identified a risk and communicated this to SARS, who will then inform the tax payer,” says McAlister.
Employees who disagree with their auto-assessment can request an amendment by filing a return in the usual way. “It is not necessary to follow the dispute resolution route at this stage and there is also no need to visit a SARS branch,” McAlister points out.
The return must be filed within 40 business days from the date that SARS issued the assessment to you, he adds. “If you miss the deadline, you can request an extension, but this must be submitted within 21 business days after the expiry of the 40 business days.
“It is important to note that all returns submitted by taxpayers will be subject to the standard risk screening process by SARS,” McAlister notes. “Taxpayers may be required to submit supporting documents to verify the information they have declared on their tax return.”