Dirk Kotze, tax partner at global audit, tax and advisory firm Mazars, warns that taxpayers should not be lulled into thinking filing a return has become a ‘no-brainer’. He acknowledges that since e-filing was introduced, SARS has improved the system and there are various tools and guides to help taxpayers complete their return.
However Kotze pointed out that e-filing is merely a filing and correspondence tool to administer tax affairs and added that the system won’t give taxpayers advice on what amounts to include, what’s subject to tax and what isn’t, and what they can deduct. “You still have to be careful about what you disclose and how you calculate your tax. While the internet streamlines the process of filing your return, it also makes it much easier for SARS to get information about your financial affairs.”
With the new Tax Administration Act in force, SARS is no paper tiger. It has real teeth and can levy additional taxes if you default, and start collection procedures against you. “Taxpayers have to ensure that what they enter onto the e-filing system is correctly classified and treated or face the consequences,” he said.
Kotze added that because of this tax practitioners are still in demand. “Taxpayers know that their tax calculations can be complex and that SARS has adopted a zero-tolerance attitude. Many also don’t like dealing with the receiver, and prefer a tax practitioner to perform the filing function and act as a buffer between them and SARS. That being said, remember that using a tax practitioner to file your return doesn’t absolve you from ultimate responsibility. So make sure that the information you give your practitioner is correct,” Kotze concludes.