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Tips for a smooth tax season in 2014

By Staff Writer
Nicolette Dirk, finance writer, Justmoney.co.za
 
Next month is the start of tax season and many South Africans consider it the most painful time of the year. Tax return filing season commences on 1 July and closes 21 November 2014 for all salaried and non-provisional taxpayers.  

The information taxpayers will be filling in their 2014 ITR12 Income Tax Return relates to the tax period between 1 March 2013 to 28 February 2014. 
 
TaxTim director, Marc Sevitz, advised taxpayers to ensure that all the documents which are used for filing are kept in one place and easy to access, just in case you encounter a nasty audit from the South African Revenue of Service (SARS).

 “TaxTim has developed a cloud based storage option for taxpayers to store their tax documents safely and securely in one place,” said Sevitz.
 
Taxpayers will also have access to an independent body to deal with their tax-related grievances since the launch of South Africa’s first Tax Ombud in April this year. Retired Judge Bernard Ngoepe is the Tax Ombud and his objective is to review and address complaints by taxpayers regarding service, procedural or administrative issues relating to their dealings with SARS.
 
The Tax Ombud is an additional and free resource available to the public, which can deal with complaints from taxpayers that cannot be resolved through SARS’s internal mechanisms. 
 
The Ombud is intended to be an affordable remedy to taxpayers who have legitimate complaints that relate to administrative matters, poor service or the failure by SARS to observe taxpayer rights. 
 
Best tips for a smooth tax season:
 
Keep all tax documents, certificates, IRP5s and invoices organised in one place. Sevitz said SARS randomly selects 25% of all taxpayers for an audit and you do not want to be caught without vital documents later on.
 
If you have to travel for work and receive an allowance or a company car, make sure that you keep a logbook. “Often taxpayers don’t know that they can reduce their taxes by claiming business expenses, but without a logbook SARS won’t allow this,” said Sevitz.
 
Taxpayers are often unaware that if a computer is used for work and it is owned by them, it can be written off as a deduction over three years for the business portion used. If the item costs less than R7 000 then the whole amount can be written off.
 
If your banking details have changed during the year, ensure you have updated them with SARS to avoid a delay in your refund being paid out. This can be done via eFiling.
 
Make sure you take the time to complete your return correctly and with all the information. SARS is able to impose heavy penalties for incorrect information, even if it was made by mistake. 
 
“If you are a fortunate taxpayer and are due a refund in 2014, then once your return is submitted, you should receive your refund within a day or two. The earlier you submit, the earlier you can expect that refund,” said Sevitz. 
 
For more information on tax-related queries click here to visit TaxTim's webite.
You can also contact SARS on 0800 00 7277 or visit their website here

The Tax Ombud can be contacted on 0800 662 837 or 012 431-9105. You can also send an email to the Ombud on complaints@taxombud.gov.za.

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