Tax season is here


By Nicolene Steenkamp

The 18th century American thinker Benjamin Franklin once said that there are only two things in the world we can be sure of, namely death and taxes. More than 300 years after his death, both remain equally inevitable and on July 7 this year, Jan Taks comes to knock on South African taxpayers again.

Knowledge is power, and given that not all of us are tax specialists, sufficient and understandable information can take the proverbial sting out of your tax experience. Herewith a brief summary of information as it applies to individuals who only earn a salary and do not enjoy an additional stream of income.

The South African tax year runs from 1 March to 28/29 February in the following year and all relevant income and expenses during this period must be declared to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) for the relevant tax year. So when talking about the 2023 tax assessment, the period in question for taxpayers will last from March 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023.

If an individual is not a provisional taxpayer, i.e. only earns a salary/remuneration, the tax season extends from 7 July 2023 to 23 October 2023. For provisional taxpayers, i.e. those who have another income in addition to a salary or an allowance earned, the season runs from July 7, 2023 to January 24, 2024.

When it comes to filing tax returns, the following tips may be helpful.

Important documentation

The following documentation is important, and taxpayers must ensure that they receive these documents from the responsible parties in good time:

  • IRP5/IT3(a): You receive this document from your employer. The document reflects your total income, as received from your employer, as well as the amount of tax you have already paid to SARS throughout the year.
  • Medical fund certificate: If you belong to a medical aid scheme, are the main member and pay the monthly contributions to the fund yourself, your medical services provider will send you a medical aid certificate. This certificate shows all the contributions you have made to the fund.
  • Exit fund certificate: If you belong to an exit fund and make a monthly contribution to this fund, you will receive a certificate indicating your total contributions for the year.
  • IT3(b): If you made an investment with a financial services provider and received interest and dividends on it during the year, this document will indicate the total interest and dividends that you must declare to SARS.
  • IT3(c): If you made an investment with a financial services provider and made or suffered any capital gain or loss, this document will show the total capital gain or loss that must be declared to SARS.
  • Travel allowance logbook: If you receive a travel allowance from your employer, you must submit a logbook as supporting documentation as part of your SARS return. The purpose of this logbook is to declare the total kilometers traveled during the year. Drawing up such a logbook is a time-consuming, but necessary process. SARS is very strict about the format of such a logbook and has compiled a format that taxpayers must use. Click here to view the prescribed format.

Automated assessment

Individuals who receive an automated assessment will be notified by SMS or email. This notice will be received between 1 July 2023 and 7 July 2023. An automated assessment means that SARS has already completed your return on your behalf with the information at their disposal.

If you receive a notification in this regard, it is important to make sure that the information available to SARS is correct. Compare the information on your return with the corresponding certificates (as stated above) that you received.

If you are satisfied with the return, you do not need to do anything further. If you disagree with the return, you have until 23 October 2023 to submit an amended return. Note: If you are not notified of an automated assessment, then you must submit your own return before 23 October 2023.

SARS platforms

Individuals can access their automated assessments through eFiling or through the SARS MobiApp and can also submit their returns via these platforms.

Ask for help here

SARS offers several helpline platforms for taxpayers. Frequently asked questions such as: “How do I register on eFiling or on the SARS MobiApp?”, “I forgot my username or password,” or “Do I have to complete a return?” is answered here. Please visit the SARS website for more information.

Registered tax practitioners

If an individual not only draws a salary, but also has more than one income stream, a tax return becomes more complex. If this is the case, feel free to contact a professional and registered tax practitioner. Registered tax practitioners are able to advise on tax returns and will provide valuable assistance.

  • Nicolene Steenkamp is a lecturer in accounting sciences at Akademia.