Tax filing season will soon be upon us, and unless you have a savvy mate in your office who dabbles in tax compliance and accepts a bottle of wine as compensation, you be need to make a plan to submit your return quite soon. Not everyone is required by law to submit a tax return, but SARS does know where you live and most likely how much you earn, so they’ll be expecting their dues!
Every year, SARS releases guidelines on their website for people unsure about whether or not they need to submit a return. It’s been polished up over the years, so now works like a decent tool that helps you figure it out.
The general theme to date has been that if you’re simply a salaried employee, who earns below a certain amount of income per year (2018: R350 000), and you don’t earn income on the side, you don’t own assets outside of South Africa above a threshold (R225 000), are not planning on claiming any deductions for things like medical aid and retirement annuities, and didn’t receive a capital gain above the annual abatement amount of R40 000, then you would not have to submit.
This is because all employers are required by law to submit your salary info and PAYE withheld, directly to SARS twice a year. If your situation is quite simple and uncomplicated, this employer submission is enough for SARS to gain comfort that they’re getting the tax they’re due, direct from your employer.
However, if your circumstances are such that you’re not excused from submitting a tax return, you will have to do so. All the PAYE that your employer had withheld from your salary over the tax year, should already be reflecting on your tax return when you request it – all you need to do, is to check it and add all the extra income and deductions that you’re entitled to.
WellSpent thinks TaxTim is so amazing that we recommend it to all our friends and family. They offer an ingenious service, whereby you can complete your tax return through their super easy-to-use website, and have it submitted directly to SARS! We don’t want to write much more about TaxTim, as they’re better at explaining how their product works. Give their site a visit here. Suss out the nuts and bolts, and don’t forget your 10% discount voucher – WELLSPENT19
If you feel comfortable that you don’t need to submit, then that’s great. Relish in your uncomplicated life, and proceed to Step 3.
If, like this, author and the millions of other proletariat who aren’t so keen to stand in SARS queues, you’ll have to brace yourself for the challenge, that is working out what you’re entitled to deduct, what you should be including in your return, and try really hard not to make an error in your tax return. You don’t want to commit the next several months of your life to listening to SARS hold music at their call centre and giving your best effort at a ‘legalese’ type letter as to why SARS should not be levying penalties and interest for an underpayment of tax.
Okay, it’s not all that bad, but twice shy is the person who has ever had to try and have errors rectified on their tax returns.
All is not lost though; enter TaxTim.
TaxTim offer an ingenious service, whereby you can complete your tax return through their super, easy-to-use website, and have your tax return populated by their system, AND have it submitted directly to SARS! This is an unmatched service in SA and quite exemplary, given how difficult it is to deal with SARS, let alone on behalf of hundreds and thousands of other taxpayers.
If you’ve ever requested your tax return on SARS E-Filing and didn’t know your IRP5 from your IRP6, this site is for you.
All of the questions that TaxTim prompt you for when you’re going through their process are designed to make sure that you get every deduction, allowance, and rebate that you’re entitled to. All too often, taxpayers miss out on opportunities to save tax as they either don’t know they are eligible for a deduction, or they give the incorrect information. TaxTim makes sure that this never happens.
It is worthwhile considering the benefits of being knowingly compliant and up to date with SARS on all your returns even if you feel like you might not have to have submitted a return. As much as we like to think that we need only interact with SARS for a momentary crossing of paths during tax season, there are times when you’ll need something from SARS.
SARS issue what is called a tax compliance certificate. Think of it as a certificate of good standing. It is used for all sorts of reasons, including evidencing your tax number, applying to send money offshore, as well as evidencing that you are in fact registered with SARS which is often a requirement when looking to secure loan or mortgage funding.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get
In order to receive any refunds from SARS, you will need to be assessed. That’s just an official word used to say that SARS are in agreement with the fact that what you owe them, or they owe you, is correct. If you don’t submit a tax return, you cannot be assessed. No assessment, no refund.
Tax submissions for people who don’t know how to submit their taxes
We’ve all got reason to be conscious of costs and there would be no point in recommending a service if it cost you a month of cappuccinos! At the time of writing this article, a basic tax return submission through TaxTim will cost you R284, and a slightly more complex one R389. That’s the Streetwise Combo/Wacky Wednesday/McCheapmeat of getting tax advice, in terms of value.
And, in keeping with our desire to offer our WellSpent readers something more than just words on a page, we have chatted to the nice people at TaxTim and can offer all our readers a code that can be used for a 10% discount when you pay for your TaxTim return.
The voucher code is: WELLSPENT19
Check it out for yourself
We don’t want to write much more about TaxTim, as they’re better at explaining how their product works. Give their site a visit here. Suss out the nuts and bolts, and don’t forget your 10% discount voucher.
We’ve written quite a few articles on tax, some of which can be found below.
- Paying tax when retired
- Tax on units trusts
- Tax on retirement annuities explained
- Tax on Life cover and income protection
- How to pay less tax in South Africa
- Should I get a tax-free savings account?
- The quest for the highest after-tax returns