“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys” (P.J. O’Rourke)
Once again tax season has opened for individuals, and whilst we can chuckle at jokes about the pain of paying taxes, they remain of course an integral part of life.
By now you should have already gathered all your supporting documentation. This is an important task as not getting your tax 100% correct can lead to queries and audits from SARS, which is clearly something to avoid. Whilst you won’t have to submit this with your tax return, you need to keep it available, for five years, in case SARS asks for it. Once an audit is open or if you must prove the item you need to retain documents for longer.
However, if you are going to do your return at a SARS branch, then bring all your documentation and your I.D. with you.
Documentation you will need is …
- Your IRP5. If you changed jobs during the year, you will have at least one other IRP 5. If you get any retirement funding, the relevant institution will send you an IRP 3 (a).
- IRP 3 (b) for any investment income received.
- Medical certificates from your medical aid plus any medical expenses incurred not covered by medical aid.
- A logbook if you receive a car allowance.
- Any retirement funding certificates received.
- Any other documentation that will affect your return e.g. if you had a capital gain or loss during the tax year.
Check that the tax certificates you receive are correct and if you find an error, go back to whoever sent you the documentation and get them to issue a corrected certificate. SARS populate your tax return with information received from third parties (IRP5, IRP 3 etc) and the only way to change the populated data on your tax return is to get the tax certificates re-issued. This can be a very cumbersome process.
Do you have to submit a tax return?
If you earn R350,000 or less –
- From a single employer,
- You have no other tax deductions, such as a car allowance or retirement funding,
- You earn less than R23,800 in interest from South Africa (if you are less than 65 years old) or R34,500 in interest (if you are 65 or over),
- You are a non-resident with only exempt dividend income.
Then you are one of the lucky people who don’t need to complete a tax return. There are a couple of exceptions here, so if in doubt speak to your accountant. If you submit a return where you were not required to, this may, due to the SARS systems, lead to an automatic imposition of penalties and this may in turn lead to unnecessary disputes with SARS.
Of course if you are due a refund, then you should submit a tax return anyway.
Important dates to file your tax returns for the 2016/2017 tax year are as per the table below.
Be honest when compiling your return. Check that everything is correct and accurate. Finally, be alert to the scammers out there who always seem to target SARS related transactions.