Tax & Starting Work

Here is a very simple guide to how much tax you will have to pay and when. We’ll also show you what you must do and how you must do it.

How much?

It’s simple you pay tax when you begin to earn income of more than the agreed amount that year and you pay it all your working life up to the age of 65. This tax is worked out on a sliding scale, see this scales in the latest documents below.

And when?

Tax works in tax years. The year starts 1st March and ends 28th February. (Except of course in a leap year when it will be 29th February). You need to submit a return in Tax Season. See our Tax Calendar.

What about other income?

Yes, you do pay tax on other income you may have. So, for example, tax applies on:
  • Income from business activities
  • Income from directorships
  • Income from trusts
  • Investment income
  • Rental income
  • Royalties income
  • Certain capital gains
  • And when you are older on annuities & pensions

What must I do?

You must register as a taxpayer with SARS. You can register through your employer via SARS eFiling or register at your nearest SARS Branch.
TOP TIP: Don’t do this in Tax Season as the queues can be long. Best time of year is in December to June. See your local branch page for the best time of day to visit and where to park.

To file a return you need an ITR12 which is tailored to your specific tax situation.

TOP TIP: The best is to do this is online and join 80% of all South Africans and become an eFiler. It’s so simple once you have a tax registration number. If you do your tax online your personal info is prepopulated by your employer. If it’s your first time filing online then why not try Help-You-eFile where our agent will help you through the process on line.

What does my employer do?

They withhold Employees tax from your salary and pay it to SARS monthly. Certain amounts can be deducted from your salary before Employees Tax is worked out such as money you might be saving towards a pension, medical aid and some insurance premiums. See our guide Income Tax and the individual.

So what happens?

We’ve drawn a simple process chart to show you the stages.

And so after all that…

If you want to know the real details of what you’ll be paying then it’s all in the Minister’s Budget Speech.
Remember as a South African taxpayer you’re responsible for everything good about our country. The Income Tax you pay enables the Government to meet the social and economic needs of our country and its people, ensuring a better life for everyone.
Last Updated: 26/09/2019 12:53 PM     print this page
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 Top FAQs

I will be starting to work overseas, but have never worked in South Africa nor registered for tax. Will I need to register and pay tax while working overseas?
South Africa has a residence-based tax system, which means residents are, subject to certain exclusions, taxed on their worldwide income, irrespective of where their income was earned.