TAX TIPS FOR TAX SEASON 2019

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Tax Tip #1 – Not everyone has to file an income tax return! You do not need to submit a return if ALL of these apply to you:

  • Your total salary for the year before tax is not more than R500 000; and
  • You have only one employer; and
  • You have no car allowance/ company car/ travel allowance or other income (e.g. interest or rental income); and
  • You are not claiming tax-related deductions/rebates (e.g. medical expenses; travel and retirement annuity contributions, other than pension contributions made by your employer)

But you have to submit a return if you worked for more than one employer or retired or resigned from employment, or your circumstances have changed in a substantial way, including letting out rental property. You also have to submit a return if you wish to claim tax-deductible expenses such as medical scheme contributions and medical expenses not paid by a medical scheme, and retirement annuity fund contributions, etc. Use our handy Tax Wizard to see if you need to submit an income tax return.


Tax Tip #2 – The improved SARS MobiApp for smart phones is a smart choice. So App your game and download the MobiApp from the Google Play Store or App Store. With the SARS MobiApp you can use your smart phone to register for eFiling, reset your username and password, file your return, submit supporting documents, make a payment to SARS, set up a Call Back from the SARS Contact Centre and use other services.


Tax Tip #3- The enhanced SARS eFiling site allows visually impaired taxpayers to file a return. Just download screen reader software. A taxpayer can claim expenses incurred and paid for in relation to a disability suffered by the qualifying taxpayer, his/her spouse, child or dependent. To claim deductions, the disability needs to be confirmed by a registered medical practitioner who has to complete an ITR-DD form. You do not need to submit the ITR-DD with your tax return. We will let you know if we need it.  Physical impairment is distinguished from disability by the fact that the severity of its effects can be overcome by a device or be corrected through therapy. People who have physical impairments may claim expenses related to their impairment only when such expenses exceed 7.5% of their taxable income. For more info, see our Tax and Disability webpage.


Tax Tip #4 - Expert help is available online from a friendly SARS agent in real-time as you file your return. Click the Help-You-eFile icon once you have logged into your SARS eFiling profile. Select Call Me and a SARS agent will talk you through every step of the way while you complete your income tax return online. The SARS Contact Centre hours are 08:00 to 17:00 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 09:00 to 17:00 on Wednesday. For more info, see the Help-You-eFile webpage.


Tax Tip #5 - You may receive a simulated calculation from SARS if you filed a return last year when you were not required to do so. You can accept this outcome or update the return and file if your circumstances have changed since Feb 2018, such as you have a new job, you are getting additional income (e.g. rental income) or want to claim for tax-deductible expenses.


Tax Tip #6 - With eFiling and the SARS MobiApp it is really simple to upload supporting documents:

  • The file type may be .pdf, .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .jpg and .gif to enable SARS to view the documents.
  • The maximum allowable size per document may not be more than 5MB and a maximum of 20 files may be uploaded.
  • Try to scan your documents in batches to ensure that each file is less than 5MB.
  • You can upload up to 20 files separately on eFiling (maximum 10 files on MobiApp), meaning you can upload today without submitting and upload again tomorrow and then only submit. Do not submit until you have uploaded all your files.
  • Make sure up you upload all the required documents. Once you click the submit button, you cannot submit more documents after that. You can only submit additional supporting documents once SARS asks for them.
  • Make sure that the image setting on your scanner is set to a 300dpi or less. Your scanner must be set to black and white and not colour.
  • If you are using the MobiApp you can take a picture of your supporting documents and upload these directly from your smart phone.

For more info, see our Uploading Supporting Documents webpage.


Tax Tip #7 - File on the go and avoid going to a SARS branch. Download the SARS MobiApp for smart phones and enjoy the benefits of SARS eFiling from the palm of your hand, anywhere 24/7.


Tax Tip #8 – SARS will impose penalties on you if you file late or not at all. An Administrative Penalty (Admin Penalty) is a penalty levied under Section 210 of the Tax Administration Act. Taxpayers who do not submit their returns will be charged this penalty and have to pay it to SARS. The penalty is charged per month for each return that is outstanding. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the admin penalty it is advisable to submit the outstanding return to stop further admin penalties being levied. The penalty will apply for every month the return remains outstanding. The penalty amount that will be charged depends on a taxpayer’s taxable income and can range from R250 up to R16 000 a month for each month that a return is outstanding. For more info, see What if I have an admin penalty webpage.


Tax Tip #9 – When paying SARS, always have your Statement of Account at hand because it contains your Payment Reference Number (PRN) that allows you to allocate the payment you are making to the correct period and tax type. See an example of a Statement of Account on eFiling.


Tax Tip #10 - Tax Season starts 1 August.  If you use eFiling or our MobiApp, you can file from 1 July 2019. From 1 July register for SARS eFiling and use our refreshed eFiling. From 1 July you can also download our improved MobiApp for smart phones from the Google Play Store for Android or the App Store for Apple devices.


Tax Tip #11 - If SARS requests specific supporting documents and you do not send it within the time stipulated on the audit letter, SARS will revise your assessment. After your return has been assessed, SARS may need to verify certain information. An  audit letter will be sent to you outlining exactly which supporting documents to send to SARS. These documents must reach SARS within 21 business days of receipt of the letter. If they do not, then SARS will revise your assessment based on the information that SARS has.


Tax Tip #12 – If you need help with your tax affairs, use a registered tax practitioner. In order for a tax practitioner to charge you for their services, they must be registered. You can check here whether your Tax Practitioner is registered with SARS and a Recognised Controlling Body (RCB).


Tax Tip #13 – Do you want peace of mind? Then make sure that you complete your income tax return honestly, accurately and on time. If you submit false information to SARS you are guilty of an offence. If convicted, you will face a fine or imprisonment of up to two years.  So file honestly and make sure you don’t end up with a criminal record.


Tax Tip #14 - Running out of time? Request a call back from the SARS Contact Centre and you won’t lose your place in the queue. You can also use the Call Back function on eFiling and the SARS MobiApp.  A SARS agent will call you back during office hours to resolve your query. Click on the Help-You-eFile icon for the Call Back function.


Tax Tip #15 – If you receive a travel allowance or use a company car, then you must keep a logbook. Use the logbook to complete your income tax return. If you receive a travel allowance from an employer or principal, you can claim a deduction on assessment of your annual income tax return for the use of a private motor vehicle for business purposes.

  • Step 1: record your motor vehicle’s odometer reading on 1 March, i.e. on the first day of a tax year.
  • Step 2: make sure that you keep a logbook throughout the year.  It is not necessary to record details of private travel. You may make use of the SARS eLogbook, simply download the logbook for the appropriate year. Without a logbook you won’t be able to claim the cost of business travel against your travel allowance.
  • Step 3: record your motor vehicle’s closing odometer reading on the last day of February (28/29) of the next year, i.e. on the last day of the applicable tax year.
  • Step 4: calculate your total kilometres for the full year (closing kilometres less opening kilometres).
  • Step 5: calculate your total business kilometres for the year (sum of all business kilometres).

In respect of every business trip you must record the following:

  • The date of travel
  • The kilometres travelled
  • Business travel details (where you started your trip, where you went and the reason for the trip)

Your travel between home and your place of work cannot be claimed for business purposes, as this is regarded as private travel. A separate logbook must be kept for each motor vehicle where more than one motor vehicle has been used for business travel during the year of assessment.

There are two ways of doing this:

  • Calculate your claim based on the cost scale table which SARS supplies (you’ll find this table in the introduction section to the travel eLogbook)
  • Calculate your claim based on actual costs. To do this, you'll have to keep an accurate record of all your expenses during the year, in addition to keeping a log book. These expenses include fuel, oil, repairs and maintenance, car licence, insurance, wear-and-tear and finance charges or lease costs.

You must keep your logbook for a period of at least five years from the date of the submission of your return, as you may be required to submit it to SARS to back up your claim.

Tax Tip #16 – Protect your tax information. Be aware of identity fraud and protect your username and password for eFiling and the SARS MobiApp. SARS will never request your banking or personal details in any correspondence that you receive via post, email or SMS. SARS will not send you correspondence with links to other websites. For more info, see our Identity Fraud webpage. If you want to verify correspondence from SARS, call the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277 or keep an eye on SARS scams.


Tax Tip #17 – It’s a healthy habit to pay on time. You can pay SARS:

  • Electronically using eFiling or the MobiApp
  • Electronically using internet banking
  • Over the counter at a bank

When making a payment to SARS, always have your Statement of Account at hand, as this contains all the correct payment information that you should use, including the correct payment reference number (PRN). A PRN is a unique payment reference number, used to allocate the payment correctly on our system. The PRN allows you to designate exactly what is being paid/settled, for example which period the payment is for and for which tax type.  If you cannot make the full payment, we will try to sort something out. In certain circumstances SARS can reach an agreement with you to defer your tax debt for later payment or for payment by instalments. Please bear in mind that you will need to discuss your financial position completely, openly and honestly with SARS.

You can make a payment arrangement via:

  • SARS eFiling
  • SARS Contact Centre
  • Visiting a SARS branch

For more info on payments, see our How do I pay webpage.


Tax Tip #18 – Stand out from the crowd. Go online if you have to interact with SARS. Join the world-wide trend of using digital channels to interact with government, retailers and entertainment providers. Register for SARS eFiling or download the SARS MobiApp via the Google Play Store for Android or the App Store for Apple devices.


Tax Tip #19 – Want to claim disability expenses? A taxpayer can claim expenses incurred and paid for in relation to a disability suffered by the qualifying taxpayer, his/her spouse, child or dependent. To claim deductions, the disability needs to be confirmed by a registered medical practitioner who has to complete an ITR-DD form. You do not need to submit the ITR-DD with your tax return. We will let you know if we need it.  Physical impairment is distinguished from disability by the fact that the severity of its effects can be overcome by a device or be corrected through therapy.  People who have physical impairments may claim expenses related to their impairment only when such expenses exceed 7.5% of their taxable income. For more info, see our Tax and Disability webpage.


Last Updated: 25/06/2019 11:50 AM     print this page
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