By Nico Strydom
The Covid-19 pandemic and resultant isolation period also have an influence on this year’s tax season.
This year the South African Revenue Service (SARS) will assess a great number of taxpayers automatically. SMSs have already been sent out to more than three million taxpayers, which means that their provisional tax returns are already available on the SARS digital channels.
According to SARS, the Covid-19 pandemic has compelled it to work faster to modernise its systems. “We have done so in order to ensure a safe work environment for our employees, and to create an environment for all taxpayers to execute their tax affairs from the comfort and safety of their homes.”
SARS has, among others, added 30 additional functions to its systems to eliminate the need for taxpayers to visit SARS offices.
From 1 to 31 August the more than three million taxpayers who have received SMSs from SARS, can decide whether they accept they automatic assessments and then complete the process on eFiling. Should a taxpayer not be satisfied with the automatic assessment, it can be amended on eFiling. Other taxpayers whose information becomes available during the remainder of August, can also submit a tax return immediately.
From 1 September to 16 November taxpayers in need of assistance may approach SARS’s contact centres to finalise their tax returns with the aid of an agent. “As an absolute last resort, taxpayers can make an appointment to visit a branch for further assistance.”
Taxpayers who wish to submit their tax returns at a SARS branch have until 22 October to do so. 16 November is the closing date for taxpayers who wish to use eFiling, while 29 January is the final date on which taxpayers have to comply with their outstanding filing obligations.
Edward Kieswetter, commissioner of SARS, has given various undertakings, including that eight out of every ten tax payers’ tax returns will be assessed withing three seconds. He said that seven out of every ten taxpayers to whom repayments are due, will receive it within 72 hours. SARS will also endeavour to be more specific when outstanding information is requested to finalise an assessment.
SARS will also finalise seven out of ten audits when an audit is necessary, or otherwise improve its communication in order to manage delays.
For assistance contact SARS’s call centre at 0800 00 7277 or visit the website at www.sars.gov.za.
The South African Revenue Service: https://www.sars.gov.za/Pages/default.aspx