Tax returns season opens
“SARS continues to focus on compliance, and has targets to meet, so my key advice is to be accurate, be on time and, above all, make sure you have the supporting paperwork,” said Ettiene Retief, chairperson of the National Tax and Stakeholders Committee at the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA).
The more time you waste before filing your return, the more stressful it will be. If you file your return earlier, it will also mean the eFiling website will be less congested so you will get your results earlier.
“Everyone who earned more than R70 700 for the year from 1 March 2014 to 28th February 2015 is liable to pay tax,” said Marc Sevitz from TaxTim.
Documents needed for claims
The most important documents needed, according to Sevitz are:
· The IRP5,
· Medical Aid Certificate,
· IT3b and IT3c which are received from banks and investment houses,
· Retirement and Income Protection Contribution Certificates, and
· Donations Certificates to Public Benefits Organisations (PBOs).
However, Retief said that medical expenses not covered by medical aid can be claimed by those over the age of 65 or by those suffering certain types of disability.
“If a claim is made in respect of this disability, make sure that the requisite SARS form accompanies the claim—it may be downloaded from the SARS website. Other taxpayers may only claim for out-of-pocket medical expenses if they exceed 7.5 percent of their total income,” he said.
How to submit tax returns
People can make use of TaxTim which is integrated directly into SARS eFiling or go into a SARS branch or using SARS eFiling.
You will have to have all your documents filled out, and in order. As well as having the correct banking and personal details on your account.
“Another important tip for individual taxpayers is to check that the information which SARS has prepopulated their tax returns on e-filing is accurate. Banks, medical aids, employers and so on will have been submitting all the relevant information to SARS during April and May. Inaccuracies that come to light if an audit is done could make it seem like the taxpayer has been acting fraudulently,” explained Retief.
Retief explained that something that can easily slip under the radar is interest earned from the savings portion of comprehensive medical aid schemes, or even interest earned from SARS on late repayments.
To make sure that all sources of income have been identified, he advised that taxpayers go through all their bank statements for the year.
All income shown on the statements should either be reflected on the tax return or, if it’s not taxable income (a loan repayment, for example), the taxpayer should note its provenance.
“It is easy to forget this type of information in two or three years’ time,” he said.
Sevitz explained that SARS can penalise up to 200% for inaccurate information and anywhere from R250 to R16 000 per month for outstanding returns.
If you want to do this all online, then you simply need to register for efiling with your tax reference number. This is the number that would have been given to you when you registered for tax.
Once you have registered you can login and upload all your documents. Make sure that all the information is accurate and correct. If you are having trouble filing your returns, then you can always hire an accountant or use the services of TaxTim.
When you are finished make sure that you don’t just ‘save’ your returns instead of clicking the submit button. Check and double check that you have submitted and make sure your profile reflects this.