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Trusts Filing Season 2021 changes

Form and system changes from 10 September 2021

In our quest to build a smart, modern SARS with unquestionable integrity, we are continuously updating our systems and processes pertaining to the filing of Income Tax returns for Trusts (ITR12T). We believe that these changes will provide taxpayers the clarity and certainty they require to meet their tax obligations and make it easy for them to comply.

Pursuant to this objective, SARS is introducing form and system changes to the Income Tax Return for Trusts (ITR12T), the Notice of Assessment for Trusts (ITA34T), letters, and guides with effect from 10 September 2021. A limited number of source code descriptions will also be updated. 

The changes being introduced include, amongst others:

  • Updated source code descriptions
  • Change to the field names and description on the ITR12T and ITA34T of all crypto-related source codes from Cryptocurrency to Crypto Asset.
  • An update on the ITR12T with all the latest legislative changes and additions of the appropriate validations following sections of the Income Tax Act (ITA), including the introduction of and/or changes to the sunset clauses of the following sections:
    • Section 12DA
    • Section 12F
    • Section 13quat
    • Section 13sept
  • Validations on the Income Tax Return for Trusts that apply to Vested or Discretionary Trusts were updated.
  • These are the changes made to trust lump sum(s) and tax directives:
    • New paragraph 3b of the second schedule to the ITA linked to section 25B of the ITA will allow for the taxation of (specific) lump sum benefits in the trust
    • The validation of the lump sum against the Tax Directive(s) issued
    • The pre-population of the lump sum containers on the ITR12T return.
  • Update on the Audit letters to provide for a specific date for the submission of relevant supporting documents or a Request for Correction (RFC) where applicable.

Trusts definitions

For tax purposes, a trust is a “person” and is, therefore, a taxpayer in their own right. Trusts must be registered for tax purposes. Please note that the representative taxpayer (usually the trustee(s) of a trust), or the appointed tax practitioner, is required to submit an income tax return for the trust annually. In addition, beneficiaries of a trust must also declare their income that was vested or distributed by the trust during the year of assessment on their personal income tax returns. The easiest and most convenient way to obtain and file an ITR12T is to register as an eFiler on, request the return and then customise it by completing the questions on the first page (Tax Wizard) of the return.

SARS thanks compliant taxpayers who filed and paid their taxes on time. We value the support of tax practitioners in their critical role of bridging the gap between taxpayers and the revenue agency. Legislation and regulations are amended from time to time to facilitate compliance. Thus, it is important that trustees and tax practitioners are kept abreast of legal changes to ensure that trusts continue to meet their tax obligations.

Compliance is important

For the 2021 Trust Filing Season, SARS is focused on improving compliance. Therefore, we wish to remind trustees and tax practitioners that it is compulsory for trusts to file a return on time, and to ensure that financial information and all other relevant documents are made available when required.

More information

For further information on the changes introduced in the last webinar on Trusts, please watch the Trusts video.

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