1-million tax returns filed in 21 days

Pretoria, 25 July 2016 — South African taxpayers have submitted 1-million tax returns in 21 days.
This is from the launch of the 2016 tax season on 1 July to last Friday, 22 July.
This figure was recorded and confirmed by the SARS by 5pm last Friday.
Of all submissions, 611 453 (60.16%) came through via e-filing and 404 603 (39.81%) through a SARS branch. 
SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane said the trend towards eFiling marked a significant development.
“SARS made a commitment to making the filing of a tax return an easy experience. 
“Since the start of Tax Season, we have emphasised the use of efiling as it is the quickest, easiest way to submit a return, and is available 24 hours.  
“Taxpayers no longer have to stand in long queues.” 
“We have also improved supporting tools such as Help-you-eFile. 
“These figures show that taxpayers are responding positively to the changes and are working with SARS to collect the required revenue to meet South Africa’s development agenda,” said Moyane.
Also, Moyane thanked those South Africans who submitted their returns early. 
“This achievement confirms that South African taxpayers are compliant and are committed to working with SARS.
“On behalf of the more than 14 000 SARS staff, we would like to thank taxpayers for their willingness to meet their tax obligations and responsibilities.
“Paying tax is a cool thing to do as it is the highest form of patriotism. This is certainly making our job of revenue collection easier,” said Moyane.
How SARS has pulled out all the stops for Tax Season thus far
  • SARS extended its contact centre operating hours during weekdays and including operating on weekends in the July month.
  • The SARS contact centre has a call-back function which means that taxpayers can opt for SARS to call them back if they need assistance.  This means that no taxpayer has to wait or hang up without getting assisted.
  • SARS improved its Help-You-eFile facility, which allows a taxpayer to contact a SARS Contact Centre agent who will browse the eFiling site with the taxpayer providing the taxpayer with step-by-step assistance.  The taxpayer’s confidential information remains unseen and secure. 
Scam Alert
With tax season comes many attempts to scam taxpayers.  SARS would like to remind taxpayers that, even if they are using the service of a tax practitioner or an intermediary, the taxpayer remains personally liable for their own tax affairs and their own compliance.
Taxpayers should ensure the tax practitioner they use is registered and accredited, and can check the registration status of a tax practitioner on the SARS website. 
Often scammers obtain taxpayer information by posing as tax consultants, tax practitioners or a trusted third party. They are then able access the taxpayers profile on eFiling and submit false declarations. Taxpayers must not divulge their eFiling details such as login name and password to anyone.
Taxpayers are also warned to be vigilant in the use of personal devices to ensure these devices are secure and to ensure that login credentials are strong and not repeated used over multiple devices.
SARS will never request your banking or personal details in any communication that you receive by post, email, phone or SMS. Importantly, SARS will also not send you any hyperlinks to other websites - even those of banks. There are no links to any banks on the SARS website.
Taxpayers who are concerned about emails or SMS messages claiming to be from SARS should:
Deadline Dates for the 2016 Tax Season
  • The deadline for taxpayers who submit their tax returns manually by post or by dropping them off in a SARS drop box is 23 September 2016.
  • The deadline for all non-provisional taxpayers via efiling or at a branch is 25 November 2016. Non-provisional taxpayers are the majority of employed individuals who submit a tax return and who earn an income from one or more employer.
  • The deadline for Provisional taxpayers who submit returns via eFiling is 31 January 2017. Provisional taxpayers form a much smaller segment of the tax base and are those individuals with other forms of income like investment income, income from business activities, rental income, royalties income or directors of companies. 
Tax Season Facts
Tax Season has grown into an important partnership between government and taxpayers who make a vital contribution to our country’s tax system. It represents the single biggest annual engagement between SARS and taxpayers, when more than 4 million taxpayers submit their income tax returns.
Only those that earn more than R350 000 need to submit an ITR12
Not everyone needs to submit an income tax return. Taxpayers whose total salary for the year is no more than R350 000 may not need to submit a tax return if:
  • Their total salary for the year before tax is less than R350 000
  • They only receive employment income from one employer for the full year of assessment
  • They have no other form of income such as car allowance, business income, taxable interest or rent or income from another job
  • They don’t have any additional allowable tax deductions to claim such as medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions, and travel expenses.  
If there is an uncertainty about who should submit a tax return, taxpayers can get assistance on the 2016 Tax Season webpage on www.sars.gov.za.
Efiling and Help-You-eFile Services
Taxpayers are once again encouraged to use SARS eFiling to submit their tax returns as it is the quickest and easiest way to submit a return and is available 24 hours. eFilers requiring assistance can make use of the free Help-You-eFile service by simply clicking on  the Help-You-eFile icon on eFiling and following the prompts to get access to a friendly SARS Contact Centre agent who will help them every step of the way while eFiling.
Recovering forgotten eFiling login details and password
We understand that Taxpayers sometimes forget their eFiling credentials. To receive your login details, follow these easy steps:
  • Visit www.sarsefiling.co.za
  • Click on Login
  • Click on the question mark
  • Request your login details
  • SARS will send it to your registered email address or cell phone number
  • If you are still stuck? Phone the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277 for help.
SARS at the service of taxpayers
SARS branches:
SARS will continue to strive towards providing the best services possible to taxpayers during Tax Season. In this regard, we continue to extend our operational reach across the country.
The ever-increasing SARS footprint now extends to 53 branches nationwide, 21 Mobile Tax Units that service taxpayers in remote areas of the country and increased efficiency at the SARS Contact Centre.
SARS Contact Centre – Call-back function:
Taxpayers calling the SARS Contact Centre who are too busy to be put on hold can request SARS to call them back without losing their place in the queue. By following the voice prompts, a SARS agent will return calls and provide telephonic assistance.
Bring correct documents
If you would like to submit your ITR12 easily, have the following documents which are applicable to you on hand if you are eFiling or with you if you are filing at a SARS branch:
  • PROOF OF INCOME. All the certificates you received IRP5 (employer), IT3(a) (Pension or retirement fund, IT3 (b) (Investments), Capital gain tax and Financial statements.
  • PROOF OF IDENTITY. ID book, passport or driver’s licence.
  • PROOF OF DEDUCTIONS. All relevant documents such as medical aid, pension and retirement annuity certificates and medical expenses
DON’T INFLATE OR UNDERSTATE AMOUNTS. Use only accurate information and the correct figures that appear on your various supporting documents when you complete your return. 
Reaching new heights
Last year 5.94 million submissions were submitted to SARS  which was 11.52% higher than in 2014. This included individuals, trusts and prior year submissions. Compliance for taxpayers filing on time exceeded 90% for the third consecutive year.
A review of 2015 Tax Season highlights the following:
  • 4.2 million returns were from individuals for the 2015 tax year
  • 1.69 million were outstanding returns from prior years
  • 45 390 were trust returns
  • 99.96% of returns were filed electronically, either via eFiling representing 51.84%, or through electronically assisted filing at a SARS branch or mobile tax unit
  • Manual submissions are down to less than 2000 returns, representing 0.04% of total volume
  • More than 95% of all returns submitted were assessed within 3 seconds and more than 99% within 24 hours
  • SARS paid out 1.82 million refunds to the value of 15 billion rand – more than 95% of these refunds were paid within 72 hours