This webpage is to assist taxpayers/tax practitioners in filing an Income tax return for individuals via eFiling. It is structured such that the user should be able to log in to eFiling, file/submit an Income tax return and request a correction via eFiling amongst others. Additional functions embedded on the system pertaining to eFiling and the Income tax return are discussed for the effective use of the system when accessing and filing your Income tax return.
Income tax is a tax levied on all income and profit received by a taxpayer (which could include individuals, companies, and trusts). It is important, as it constitutes a large portion of the consolidated revenue stream of government, which is spent on programmes and services that enhance the wellbeing of its citizens. Income tax is imposed under the Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962 legislation authority.
As mentioned above, individuals/ trusts or companies that receive income are subject to being taxed. This income, which is taxable income, may be received by the taxpayer in the following forms:
- Remuneration (income from employment), such as, salaries, wages, bonuses, overtime pay, taxable (fringe) benefits, allowances, and certain lump sum benefits;
- Profits or losses from a business or trade;
- Income or profits arising from an individual being a beneficiary of a trust;
- Director’s fees;
- Investment income, such as interest and foreign dividends;
- Rental income or losses;
- Income from royalties;
- Pension income; and
- Certain capital gains
Collecting taxable income forms part of the mandate of SARS, inter alia to assist the citizens of South Africa in fulfilling their tax responsibilities. By law, businesses and individuals must file an Income Tax return every year to determine whether they are indebted to pay any taxes or are eligible for a tax refund. SARS services its citizens by ensuring that information pertaining to their tax affairs is captured accurately, which in turn allows a more credible return and a reliable assessment.
In view of the above, SARS constantly modernises their tax processes to ensure that they are effective and optimal and one such enhancement has been on the Income tax return. Taxpayers who received an audit letter are now able to substantiate their declaration by either submitting the supporting documents or revising their Income tax return within 21 working days from the date of the letter via eFiling.
SARS values your compliance as taxpayers; thus, we continuously ensure that the tax systems are functioning optimally and effectively so you can be more confident in your tax return filling process. The Income tax return on eFiling is one such improvement and this guide will assist you in filing your return via eFiling
Describing the eFiling system
- SARS eFiling is a free online solution for the submission of returns, declarations, and other related services. This service allows taxpayers, tax practitioners, representatives to register and submit returns/declarations, make payments, and perform several other interactions with SARS in a secure online environment. Once registered, eFilers can submit returns, view their tax status, and make payments to SARS electronically 24 hours a day.
- Over the years, SARS introduced additional functionality to eFiling providing enhancements for self-service account management and customer engagement support such as filing history, tax calculator, correspondence, Help-You-eFile, mobile versions etc. While these enhancements offered a state-of-the-art solution in the realm of online digital tax management at the time, there is now a need to further enhance and streamline the design, incorporate newer user management, user registration and profile management. Leveraging on new technology advancements caters for an optimized user interface and user experience and ultimately support the strategic objective of Digital migration to cost effective channels.
- Due to emerging technologies and digital demand, there is an urgent need for the redesign of eFiling, to ensure that SARS is best positioned for the digital demands of the future by embracing the benefits that technology offers by providing an optimised secure digital environment. Millions of taxpayers transact on eFiling and a refresh of the current eFiling platform will ensure a user-friendly customer experience, with enhanced design that promotes compliance and reduced administrative burden. Simpler registration, user management and navigation will further reduce the risk of fraud, promote an increased eFiling uptake and overall migration towards easy digital and cost-effective channels.
- The redesign of eFiling, presents SARS with an opportunity to enhance the customer experience by improving platform design, navigation and accessibility to electronic users while strengthening the access to eFiling to ensure the protection of the taxpayer and their confidence in the organisation
- The eFiling redesign journey, which aims to enhance the user experience by introducing a user-friendly design and framework, as well as provide the eFiler with a secure digital transactional platform with SARS and further establish eFiling as the preferred channel. Furthermore, security processes have been enhanced to curb identified risks while providing enhanced user/profile management and enhancing digital offerings in the self-service environment.
Benefits of using eFiling to submit your Income Tax Return
eFilers are given more time to make their submissions.
- Taxpayers/Tax representatives can save the Income tax return and submit it later, which will give them more time to review the information to be submitted to SARS.
eFilers have a full history of all submissions, payments, and electronic correspondence available at a click of a button.
- The system allows a taxpayer/tax representative to view the history of submissions made of the Income tax return on the system for their convenience.
eFilers can receive SMS and email notifications to remind them when submissions are due.
- SMS and email notifications assist the taxpayers/tax representatives in the submission process by ensuring that the returns are submitted before the due date.
The simplicity of the process results in fewer errors and creates a quicker processing cycle for individuals and business.
- There are embedded functions within the Income tax return such as pre-populating fields, pop up warning messages when incorrect information is completed and the simplified navigation. These functions are there to assist you whilst editing the return, which results in fewer errors, made during your return process.
eFilers can revise the return declaration of their initial Income tax return via eFiling
- This function allows the taxpayer / tax representative to resubmit the incorrect information (Income tax return) previously submitted to SARS resulting in an accurate assessment.
The Help-You-eFile functionality on the SARS eFiling website allows a taxpayer to request that a SARS agent to share the view of their eFiling screen on his/her personal computer to assist the taxpayer with queries relating to the following eFiling functionality:
- Income tax return
- Simulated Tax Calculation
- Income Tax Notice of Assessment (ITA34)
- Income Tax Statement of Account (ITSA)
- Income Tax Calculator
- Request for Correction
- Additional Payments
- Password Reset
- Change own password
- Supporting documents
- Returns Issued
- Returns History
- Returns Search
- SARS Correspondence
- Voluntary Disclosure
- User Functionality
- Other Services
- Additional Services.
Agents are not able to see sensitive or confidential taxpayer information on screens, forms, letters, or notices. This information includes:
- Taxpayer Bank Details (Bank Name, Branch Code, Account No, Account Holders Name);
Registration is part of the process that must be completed before using eFiling. This will allow your information to be routed to the SARS system. This section will provide a short introduction on how to register and log onto eFiling to submit your Income tax return to SARS
Navigate to the SARS website sars.gov.za and the following screen will be displayed.
- Click the “Login” button to log into eFiling or the “Register” to proceed to register as an eFiler if you are not registered.
- Alternatively, click the “Register” hyperlink on the below screen after you have clicked “Login” to proceed to Register for eFiling.
- Complete all the relevant information on the personal details screens and click the “Next” button to proceed with the registration process.
- Enter contact details (cell Number and Email address), Username, Password and Confirm Password. Click “Submit” to proceed.
- Upon successful registration, proceed to login to eFiling and submit your Income tax return.
- For further assistance with eFiling registration or profile management, refer to the external guide “How to register for eFiling and manage your user profile” available on the SARS website sars.gov.za
Registered eFiling Users
Once registered, you must keep your login credentials (username and password) which will be used to gain access to your profile and usage of the system.
- Navigate to the SARS website sars.gov.za and click “Login”.
- Enter your “Username” and click the “Next” button to continue
- If you have forgotten your Username and/or Password, click on the ‘Forgot Your Username?’ or ‘Forgot Your Password?’ hyperlinks.
- If the username entered is incorrect, the following error message will be displayed.
- Enter your “Password” and click the “Login” button to proceed.
Note: If the login and password details are incorrect, an error message will be displayed on the screen for the user.
- If you are a newly registered eFiling user, after successful first login to eFiling, the Terms and Conditions screen will be displayed. You are required to read the Terms and Conditions carefully and scroll to the bottom. Select ‘I Accept’ to proceed.
- Each eFiler must confirm or update his/her eFiling Security Contact Details of either cell number or email address, which will be used to authenticate the eFiling user.
- Update the cell number or email address (if the information presented differs) and click the ‘Continue’ button to proceed with the Login process
- A One Time Pin (OTP) will be sent to indicate preferred method of communication of the eFiling user. Only one preferred method of communication is allowed, where the OTP will be sent.
- Enter the last 6-digits of OTP that has been sent to indicated preferred method of communication and click the ‘Submit’
Upon successful login, the eFiling Dashboard will be displayed.
The eFiling Dashboard screen has been enhanced to assist taxpayers in navigation to the following services:
a) Lump Sum Calculator
b) Online Booking – this option will route you to the SARS Online Booking link to schedule an appointment with SARS.
c) Statement of Account
d) My Compliance Status
e) Notice of Registration
- By clicking on each icon, you will be directed to the specific function on eFiling.
- Below are examples of the different eFiling Dashboard screens for Individual, Tax Practitioner and Organisation.
- If your income tax status is inactive, belongs to a deceased person, or if you have multiple income tax numbers, messages will be displayed to refer you to the nearest SARS office to rectify your registration status. Below find examples of screens that will be displayed.
Request an eBooking Appointment via eFiling
- Select the Online Booking icon
- This will display the Make an Appointment page
Click on <Click here to Book an Appointment at a SARS branch> displayed at the bottom of the page.
For more information on making an appointment with SARS, refer to ‘Book an Appointment at a SARS branch – External Guide’ on the SARS website.
How to use efiling to submit your tax return
When filing your Income tax return, you must ensure that correct information pertaining to your income/profit is recorded on your Income tax return. Some fields on the form are pre-populated; however, you are required to verify whether the information is correct (such as personal demographic information, contact details, banking details, IRP5 certificate and medical aid information). eFiling has been designed for ease in filing your return by using the Help-You-eFile function (refer to the Register as an efiler user section of this webpage). This section will demonstrate how to submit your Income tax return via eFiling.
Note that additional/supporting documents relating to your Income tax return are submitted to SARS upon request; you are required to retain these supporting documents for a period of five years, should SARS require them in the future.
Auto Estimated Assessments
- SARS embarked on a process to improve efficiencies and tax compliance by introducing a method of submitting returns called an Auto Assessment from the 2019 PIT Filing Season. In the 2021 Filing Season, the auto assessment process enabled SARS to simulate assessment results based on data available at SARS’ disposal. To finalise the filing/submission process, the taxpayer was then required to accept the simulated assessment on condition that they agree with the simulation or edit the return to declare further information. Once the taxpayer has accepted the simulation then a return would automatically be filed on their behalf and a notice of assessment would then be issued. If the taxpayer does not action the auto assessment at the end of filing season, then SARS would raise the Original Assessment based on estimated assessment and admin penalties would be imposed under certain provisions.
- As of the 2022 Filing Season, SARS will issue an “Original Assessments based on Estimates”. The identified population would receive the “Notice of Assessments” for the applicable year as opposed to the simulated assessments that were issued previously. The taxpayer will not be required to do anything if they agree with the assessment issued by SARS. If the taxpayer is aggrieved or does not agree with the assessment issued by SARS, they will have an opportunity to file their original return within a stipulated period to avoid penalties being imposed.
- This “Original Assessment based on Estimates” is not subject to objection or appeal but, if you do not agree with it, you can submit an accurate tax return (via eFiling or MobiApp) within 40 business days from the date of the assessment.
- The Taxpayer would have the ability to submit Relevant material should they not agree with the estimate issued by SARS.
- Section 95 of Tax Administration Act has been amended to allow for the taxpayer to have the ability to request extension for the period allowed to submit relevant material or a return after an estimate assessment has been issued.
- The eFiling Dashboard will have a message to indicate that an auto-estimate assessment has been issued. Click ‘View’ button and the “Assessment Summary Notice” screen will be displayed. The Assessment Summary Notice will be viewed on the screen or available to download.
- Alternatively, if you have been selected as part of the original estimate population for the 2023 tax year, and you request the tax return the below message will be displayed on a pop-up window on the Income Tax Work Page, as indicated below. Click “OK” on the message and the Assessment Summary Notice screen will be displayed.
- The “Assessment Summary Notice” page will be displayed with two buttons to either “View Assessment” or “View Return”.
- If you select “View Assessment”, the ITA34 will be displayed. Below is an example of an Assessment Summary notice.
- If you select the “View Return” button, the return will be opened in read-only format. On the ITR12 page, the “Back”, “Print”, “Source codes”, “Edit Return” and “Close” buttons will be displayed.
Edit the Return
- In the instance that the taxpayer wishes to edit the return and declare further income, the return will be available to make changes. The current return filing process will apply, and the submitted declaration would be recorded as the original assessment from the taxpayer.
- If you choose to edit the auto-estimated assessment result generated by SARS based on third party data obtained, select the “Edit Return” button after you have opted to view the return.
- You can proceed to edit the return and submit to SARS.
- Alternatively, select the “Request Return” button on the Income Tax Work Page to submit your original return to SARS.
- The ITR12 return will open, and you may edit and submit to SARS. After submission, the status on the Income Tax Work Page will be updated to “Filed though eFiling”.
- If the return gets rejected by SARS, a decline letter will be issued to the taxpayer, and the Notice of Assessment will not be issued, and the taxpayer will be allowed to raise/log a dispute.
- If SARS accepts the return, the assessment will be processed, and the taxpayer may receive a reduced or additional assessment. Once the taxpayer receives the reduced or additional assessment, dispute will not be allowed.
Request for Extension
- If the taxpayer is required to submit an original return or relevant material because of an estimated assessment being raised by SARS, the taxpayer may request for an extension for the period allowed to submit such required material/return.
- The ‘Request for extension’ button will be available for a period of 3 years. The request for extension will be granted to a maximum period not exceeding 3 years from the date of assessment for Income Tax.
- Click the “Request for Extension” button on the Income Tax Work Page as indicated in the below screen.
Complete the following fields on the Request for Extension screen:
- Reason for extension
- Reason for extension description
- Date extension to:
- select a date, not exceeding 3 years from date of the assessment
- When they hover-over the information icon the following message will be displayed:
- “Please note the date entered must be within 3 years from the Date of Assessment.”
- Select “Back” to revert to the Income Tax Work Page or “Submit” to submit the Request for Extension to SARS.
- Applicable messages will be displayed after the submission of the Request for Extension and the taxpayer try to request the extension again:
- When a taxpayer received a request for extension rejection letter and tries to do a new request for extension, the following message will be displayed:
- “The Taxpayer’s Request for Extension can no longer be processed, as the request was previously rejected. Therefore, the Estimated Assessment issued to you for the tax period is now considered final”.
- When a taxpayer has submitted the Request for Extension, but has not received the confirmation notice and they click the request for extension button again:
- “Request for extension not allowed, already submitted.”
- When the taxpayer has submitted the request for extension, the confirmation notice is received and they have not received either the extension Granted or Decline outcome letter, and they try to request again:
- The taxpayer’s Request for Extension previously received is under review and SARS will communicate the outcome of the request shortly”.
- Upon the completion of the request for extension by SARS, outcome letters will be issued and available on the Correspondence and the return Work Page on eFiling.
Request for Correction
After the estimate assessment have been raised by SARS, and the taxpayer has chosen to edit the estimated assessment return and submit an original return to SARS, the taxpayer will be able to request a correction on the return submitted, requesting SARS to issue an additional or reduced assessment. SARS will issue correspondence in the case where the correction has been rejected. The taxpayer will have the option to dispute the decision taken by SARS, where SARS declined to issue a reduced or additional assessment. Refer to the SARS website sars.gov.za for more information on the dispute process.
- A saved version of the return will be available to request the changes on and submit to SARS as per normal process.
Total Discharged Returns
In terms of section 98 of the Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011 SARS may, despite the fact that no objection has been lodged or appeal noted, withdraw an assessment which—
- was issued to the incorrect taxpayer;
- was issued in respect of the incorrect tax period; or
- was issued as a result of an incorrect payment allocation and to the extent that there is reasonable ground to believe that the return submitted was a fraudulent and/or fictitious submission for the reporting year of assessment.
Total discharge refers to filed returns that were cancelled by SARS.
- If the return(s) was submitted via eFiling, the status of these return(s) will be updated to “Cancelled”. If there is more than one version of the return, all the versions’ statuses for the applicable year of assessment will be cancelled. These include returns that were filed through another channel and processed on eFiling.
- For assessments that have been totally discharged, you will not be allowed to request for correction, make payments or dispute the total discharged returns. If there is any supporting document group open, upon receipt of Total Discharge assessment notice, supporting document group will be closed since the associated return is cancelled.
- Since the return is cancelled in totality, you will be allowed to issue, capture, and submit a new return for the same year of assessment.
- When a taxpayer attempts to file a dispute case (RFR/NOO/NOA/Condonation and Request for Reason/Request for Remission) while the total discharge is in progress or the assessment is withdrawn, the following message will be displayed:
- “Please note that a case to withdraw the assessment for the selected year of assessment is in progress. Therefore, you will not be allowed to file (RFR/NOO/NOA/CON/RFRE).”
- When a taxpayer attempts to file a Request for Correction (RFC) while the total discharge is in progress or the assessment is withdrawn, the below message will be displayed
- “Please note that a case to withdraw the assessment for the selected year of assessment is in progress. Therefore, you will not be allowed to file a Request for Correction”.
- When a Total discharge has been finalised and Taxpayer request a dispute case (RFR/NOO/NOA/Condonation and Request for Reason/Request for Remission), the following message will be displayed:
- “No Assessment Found”.
- Taxpayer/ User may request SARS to withdraw the assessment based on the Financial Year-end changes, Fraud, Duplicate Registration/Tax Reference Number, or Incorrect taxpayer return submission.
Duplicate IRP5 Certificate
Duplication of the IRP5 certificate occurs when SARS detects that your IRP5 certificate submitted to SARS is a duplicate of the one already submitted by another taxpayer, or where the PAYE number on your submitted IRP5 does not exist. Where such duplications are detected by SARS, the following error messages will respectively be displayed:
- “Your return cannot be processed due to an error on your IRP5 certificate. We are unable to verify the employer’s PAYE/Income tax reference number declared on your IRP5 certificate. Please contact your employer to verify the IRP5 details or make an appointment with a SARS branch for further assistance.”
- “Your return cannot be processed because the IRP5 certificate declared on your return has been submitted by another taxpayer. Please contact your employer to verify the IRP5 details or make an appointment with a SARS branch for further assistance.”
Ensure that you read the message carefully to rectify the error with SARS before you will be able to proceed to submit your income tax return.
Rejected Return due to Invalid Tax Directive
If you submit your Income tax return with a lump sum amount on a IRP5 certificate, SARS will perform verifications and one of the following messages may be displayed if the verification is unsuccessful and the return may be rejected:
- “Please note that this return cannot be processed, the directive number captured on the IRP5 differs with Directive No. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX issued by SARS. Please contact the Fund Administrator/Employer to rectify the error and resubmit the return.”
- Please note that this return cannot be processed, the accrual date on the IRP5 differs from the accrual date on the Directive No. XXXXXXXXXXXX issued by SARS. Contact the Fund Administrator/Employer to rectify the error and resubmit the return.
- “Please note that this return cannot be processed, the Lump Sum source code on the IRP5 differs from the source code on Directive No. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX issued by SARS. Contact the Fund Administrator/Employer to rectify the error and resubmit the return.”
- “Please note that this return cannot be processed, the Lump Sum amount on IRP5 differs from the Lump Sum amount on Directive No. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX issued by SARS. Contact the Fund Administrator /Employer to rectify the error and resubmit the return.”
- “Please note that this return cannot be processed, tax Directive No. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX was issued by SARS, but no Lump Sum amount is declared on the return. Contact the Fund Administrator/Employer to rectify the error and resubmit the return.”
- “Please note that this return cannot be processed, a Certificate No. from the IRP5 is not captured on the return for Directive No. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX issued by SARS. Contact the Fund Administrator/Employer to rectify the error and resubmit the return.”
Once the Fund Administrator or Employer has corrected the error either on the IRP5/IT3(a) certificate to correspond with the information on the tax directive or the directive has been corrected to correspond with the information on the IRP5/IT3(a) certificate with SARS, you will be able to proceed to submit your income tax return. Ensure that you refresh the IRP5/IT3(a) data before completing the return.
Completion of the income tax return via eFiling
Upon a successful login to the system, you will land on the home page, from where you can access the Income. Tax Return by clicking the relevant hyperlink for the tax year, e.g., 2021 for the tax year as indicated in the below screen
- The eFiling Dashboard has been enhanced to display the last refresh date and time along with the status to inform the taxpayer when the last status update was done on the following:
- Tax Compliance Status
- Refund Status
- Account balance
- If the taxpayer refreshes the status, the new date and time will be displayed.
- Alternatively, you can access the return as follows:
- Click on “Returns”
- Click on “Returns Issued”
- Click on “Personal Income Tax (ITR12)”
- Select the appropriate year and click on “Request Return” if your return has not been automatically issued by SARS.
- In the case of an Insolvent estate, Deceased Estate, Cease to be a Resident instance, you may select the 2024 tax year, the following message will be presented. Select “OK” to proceed for the reasons indicated or “Cancel” to select the appropriate year to submit.
- Once you have successfully requested your return, you will land on the “Income Tax Work Page”. A message will appear informing you that your Income tax return has been generated and contains the latest information SARS has on record for you.
- You are required to read the message carefully and select “OK” to continue.
- If your Income tax return has been issued, it will appear within the “Income Tax Work Page”, displayed within the grid.
- If the income tax return has been issued and/or saved prior to opening of eFiling 2023 Filing Season and updated information has been received by SARS from third parties, the following message will be displayed. Click “OK” to proceed and the system will automatically update the third-party information.
- Before opening your Income tax return, ensure that you click the “Refresh Data” tab to populate the return fields with the most recent IRP5/Medical/Retirement Annuity/Investment Income/Tax Free Investment and address data, as supplied to SARS by your employer/Medical Aid/Pension fund.
- Indicate the applicable third-party data to refresh and click “OK” to proceed or “Cancel” to be redirected to the Income Tax Work Page.
- The work page will indicate that the data is refreshed successfully.
- You can view third-party data certificates submitted by third party data providers on your behalf by selecting the “Third Party Data Certificate Search” tab on the Returns menu tab.
Refer to “How to view submitted third party data returns or data files via efiling – External Guide” for more information.
- Open your income tax return by clicking on the “My Tax Return (ITR12)” hyperlink.
- If you would like to remove the left-hand menu to make the screen bigger, click on the three lines on the left corner of the screen.
- The income tax return will be displayed in HTML format. Ensure that you have a compatible browser to view the Income tax return.
- A warning message will be displayed once the return opens that indicates that any changes to banking details will be verified before your banking profile is updated. It also states that any refund due to you (if applicable) will be processed after your banking details are received and verified. It also advises you that you may be required to visit a SARS branch to present supporting documents and that SARS will inform you of this if required. The warning message further indicates that you are not allowed to make any changes to data that has been provided by the employer/service provider to SARS. Once you have read the message click “OK” to continue to complete your Income Tax return.
- Standard and Comprehensive questions will be displayed as the first page of your Income tax return for Individuals. This is a wizard that will aid in creating your customised Income tax return for Individuals. However, you only need to update the information if your tax affairs have changed over the past year, as your Income tax return will be customised with the same fields that you requested last year. To add extra income and deductions sections to your return, select the relevant options on the wizard.
- Where information has not been completed, the relevant tab will be indicated in red, as displayed on the below screen.
Note 1: Mandatory fields are indicated in red. That implies that these fields must be completed.
- For a detailed description on how to complete the Income tax return for Individuals, and the various sections that will be applied during the assessment process of the return contained in the Acts: Income Tax Act No.58 of 1962 and the Tax Administration Act No 28 of 2011, refer to the ‘Comprehensive guide to the ITR12’published on the SARS website.
Note 2: The personal information must be that of the taxpayer and not those of the tax practitioner completing the return on behalf of a client.
Note 3: If you are on eFiling and have not actively been working on the Income tax return, a session timeout message as indicated below will appear. You can choose to logout or to continue working on the return.
Note 4: If your session timed out, a message will be displayed to indicate that the form was auto saved, and you can either discard the changes or continue with the saved changes.
- Ensure all the information on the taxpayer information section is correct and up to date.
- If you select “married in community of property” in the Marital Status field, the following fields in the Spouse Details container will become mandatory:
- Spouse initials;
- Spouse ID No.; or
- Spouse Passport No; and
- Passport Country.
Note 5: To update your ID number or Passport Number, you are required to make an appointment on the SARS website or the SARS Mobile App to visit your nearest SARS branch.
- If the populated information is incorrect, enter the correct information in the fields provided.
- If you want to change your cell phone number and email address that are pre-populated in the Contact Details section of the return, delete the pre-populated information and fill in the new information.
- If your contact details are completed on the return, select “Yes” or “No” to the question that you confirm that the email and telephone number(s) you provided is correct.
- For more information, refer to the “How to register for eFiling and manage your user profile” available on the SARS website sars.gov.za
The physical and postal address is prepopulated on the return, and you will be able to change the address details if necessary.
Change of Banking Details
All changes to your banking details will be verified by SARS before your profile is updated.
SARS will notify you if you are required to submit supporting documents to verify your banking details.
Should you require any further information concerning banking detail changes, you can:
- Go to the SARS website sars.gov.za ;
- Call the SARS on 0800 00 7277; or
- Make an appointment on the SARS website or SARS Mobile App to visit your nearest SARS Office.
Remember: Without accurate bank details SARS cannot pay you a refund, where it is due.
- The Bank Account Holder Declaration.
- Please note that the Account Holder Declaration statement will be defaulted to ‘I use South African bank accounts’
- A message will be displayed in the Bank Account Details section to inform you that all changes to your banking details will be verified before updating your banking profile.
- Click the “Edit” button on the Bank Account Holder Declaration header to change any pre-populated bank details.
- A confirmation message will be displayed when you select to edit the bank detail information. Click “Yes” or “No” to proceed.
- If you select “Yes”, the current bank details will be displayed, and new fields will be available to capture the new bank details.
- If you select “I declare that I have no South African bank account” and there are current bank details saved at SARS, the following message will be displayed to confirm that the existing bank details will be deleted. Click “OK” to proceed.
- After you have entered new bank details, click “Update” to proceed with the bank detail changes or “Cancel” to close the bank account details container.
If you have no local bank account or use a third-party bank account, select the applicable option from the Account Holder Declaration drop down menu.
- Select the relevant reason for no local bank account or use a South African bank account of a third party and click “Update” to proceed
- Mark the agreement statement box with “X” in the Bank Account Details container
Note 7: If you indicated that you do not have a South African Bank account and later this is found to be incorrect, SARS may impose administrative penalties of up to R16000 depending on your taxable income.
- You are reminded to check your banking details if the system identifies that you have filed an incorrect banking account number.
To correct your banking account number:
- Click “Open Return” to rectify the account number; or
- Click “Continue” if you are certain that your banking details are correct.
If you choose to continue and your banking details are incorrect, your return will not be filed but will be saved until you correct the banking details.
- If the banking details are incorrect the status of the return will be displayed as “Saved with invalid bank details”.
- Capture your correct banking details.
Additional information when completing the Income Tax Return
- Compare your IRP5/IT3 (a) certificate(s) received to the populated information provided on your Income tax return.
- Where your employer/pension fund has not submitted your IRP5/IT3(a) information to SARS, your Income tax return will not be populated. You have two options:
- Click on “Save Return” and try again later; or
- Enter the information in the fields provided.
- Where your employer/pension fund has not submitted your IRP5/IT3(a) information to SARS, your Income tax return will not be populated. You have two options:
- To try again later, save your partially completed Income tax return and login at a later stage to check if your IRP5/IT3(a) information has been updated. You do this by clicking “Refresh data” to ensure your Income tax return contains the most up-to-date information provided to SARS.
- If you choose to file your Income tax return when not all your IRP5/IT3(a) information has been submitted by your employer/pension fund(s), your assessment may be delayed, and you may be required to submit supporting documents.
- Depending on which of the standard and comprehensive questions were selected, sections on additional income and deductions must be completed, where applicable.
- Please note: Medical deductions in respect of a person with a disability – As a result of a change in legislation, an ITR-DD form, Confirmation of diagnosis of disability for an individual taxpayer, which is available on the SARS website sars.gov.za, has been designed and contains the criteria for the diagnosis of disability. These legislative changes are effective from 1 March 2009 and are applicable from the 2010 year of assessment.
- For further assistance, refer to the “Tax Guide on the Deduction of Medical Expenses” available on the SARS website sars.gov.za
- SARS will prepopulate information relating to the investment income (i.e., local interest, foreign interest, foreign dividends, Distribution from a Real Estate Investment Trust/s (REIT), Tax Free Investments, etc.).
- When you have to manually complete the Investment Income section of the return, and the data has not been pre-populated by the data received by SARS from third parties, click the “Add” button to add the relevant investment income information, where applicable.
Below is an example of the Investment Income section of the ITR12:
- After selecting the “Add” button, the relevant information must be completed in the fields provided.
Submit the income tax return on eFiling
- At any stage you can save your Income tax return before submitting it by clicking on “Save”.
- Tax practitioners that have not re-registered and received accreditation as a Tax Practitioner by a Recognised Controlling Body, will be regarded as unregistered tax practitioners and will no longer be permitted to submit returns on behalf of their clients. Unregistered tax practitioners will have the ability to prepare and save Income tax returns on behalf of their clients, but the submission of the prepared returns may only be performed by the Taxpayer.
Submission of the saved return by the taxpayer may only be performed in either of the following ways:
- By the taxpayer on his/her own eFiling profile via the shared access functionality on eFiling.
- By the taxpayer visiting a SARS branch, where the taxpayer must inform the agent that the return has been prepared by an unregistered tax practitioner, and the agent will retrieve the saved return and submit from the SARS systems.
Unregistered tax practitioners will be able to complete the Income tax return on behalf of the taxpayer and will have the following options available:
- Save – this option will allow saving of the return without performing form validations and will allow the incomplete return to be saved on eFiling.
- Save Return For Filing – this option will allow form validations to be performed when the Income tax return is saved on eFiling. The return will be available for retrieval at the SARS branch office by an agent from the SARS systems to be submitted or retrieved on eFiling by the taxpayer via shared access for return submission.
- The completion of the Income tax return will be the same as the current process.
- The “Submit return to SARS” and “Request for Correction” options will not be available to unregistered tax practitioners.
After the completion of the Income tax return and selection of the “Save Return for Filing” button, the following screen will be displayed to indicate that the Income tax return has NOT been filed.
- The status of the Income tax return will be indicated as “Prepared for Filing” on the Income Tax work page.
- Notices regarding the successful submission of the Income tax return will be sent to eFiling of the unregistered tax practitioner as per the current functionality including the requests for supporting documents.
- eFiling will check the correctness of specific information. Where information is incorrect and/or incomplete, eFiling will prompt you to correct the captured information before your return can be submitted. Below is an example of the message that may be displayed.
- Once you have captured all the information on your Income tax return and you are ready to submit it to SARS, simply click “Submit return to SARS”.
- The Declaration screen will be displayed with the date pre-populated. Click “Confirm” to proceed to submit the return to SARS or “Cancel” to be routed back to the return.
- You will receive confirmation when your Income tax return has been submitted.
- After the successful submission of the ITR12 return, you will be prompted to complete a survey. Select “Yes” to complete the survey and “No” to close the message and not complete the survey.
- Once you click “Continue”, the “Query SARS Status” button will appear on the Income Tax Work Page, enabling you to query the status of your ITR12 return.
- If the Return is still in process, the status on the Income Tax Work Page will be indicated as “In Progress”.
- Alternatively, if an assessment has been issued, the status will be updated to indicate “Assessment received”. A pop-up message will be displayed to indicate that the assessment has been issued. Click “OK” on the message to open the ITA34 or “Cancel” to close the message.
- This is an example of a status:
- Remember – check the status of your return on the Income Tax Work Page to ensure that it reflects as filed.
- Note: If you would like to change any information, except for personal details on your return after you have submitted, click on “Request Correction” on the Income Tax Work Page. Your return will be displayed, and you can make the necessary changes and resubmit. Refer to the Request for Correction section in this guide for more information.
Returns submitted through another channel
- If you have already submitted your income tax return or required supporting documents for your income tax return in the past 3 years to SARS via the SARS branches or using the SARS Mobile Application (SARS MobiApp) and your notice of assessment has been issued, eFiling will be updated with these returns and supporting documents allowing you to view or correct your submitted return via eFiling.
- Alternatively, newly registered eFiling users, will also be able to view and correct returns that have been submitted through another channel in the last 3 years.
- The status on the Income Tax Work Page will be displayed as “Filed through another channel”.
- Note: The update of these return statuses will include overdue returns reflected on eFiling that has already been submitted to SARS through another channel.
Additional functionality relating to the income tax return
Before submitting your Income tax return to SARS, we recommend that you check your return for accuracy using the tax calculator function that will provide you with an indication of your expected assessment. If the result is significantly different from what you are expecting, you may have made an error in completing your return. To use the tax calculator, first save your return by clicking the “Save” button, open the return, and click the “Calculate” button on the toolbar.
- If you make changes on your return after this, a message will appear to indicate that your return was updated since the last calculation. Select “View Previous Calculation” to view the calculation or select “Close Window” to proceed.
- Note that the tax calculator result is not always 100% correct but only an estimate of what the assessment could be.
- This version of the tax calculation will be saved and is available on the work page under “Calculation results”.
- The tax calculator will not be available for complex returns.
- If your return has been selected for verification or audit, SARS may request the supporting documents to justify the claim made on the Income tax return. This section will outline the procedure to upload supporting documents via eFiling.
- Ensure that the following standards are adhered to when supporting documents are uploaded:
- 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 documents may be uploaded.
- Note: When uploading supporting documents, make sure they are not password protected, as this will prevent us from viewing the files.
- On the landing page of your eFiling page, a status will be indicated that Supporting Documents is required.
- Alternatively, on the Income Tax Work Page, a supporting documents tab will be created to upload all required supporting documents to SARS. Click the relevant hyperlink as displayed below to proceed to upload documents
- The Supporting Documents screen will be displayed.
- Select the “Choose file” tab to select the file(s) to be uploaded and click the “Open” button to upload.
- The file will be indicated on the “Upload Supporting documents” section. Click the “Upload” button to continue.
- The file will be uploaded and listed in the “Uploaded Documents” section. To remove the file, select the tick box and click the “Remove” button and confirm the removal of the file.
- After uploading all the files, click the “Submit to SARS” button to submit the supporting documents to SARS. Click “OK” on the confirmation message to confirm all the documents have been uploaded or “Cancel” to upload or remove documents.
- The status on the Income Tax work Page under the Supporting Documents section will be updated to “Submitted”.
- The SARS Online Query System may also be used to submit supporting documents, if you have the correct case number to ensure that the supporting documents are attached to the correct case.
- To revise an initial submitted Income tax return, the taxpayer/tax representative should use the function “Request Correction” on eFiling to re-resubmit an updated Income tax return to SARS.
- This function must be used when an error was made during the completion of the initial return.
A request for correction (to resubmit a revised Income tax return) however, will not be permitted in the following instances
- If the return is on an issued or saved state;
- If one allowable request for correction has been submitted for an active verification in progress;
- An active audit case is in progress;
- An agreed estimate was performed by SARS for the Personal Income tax;
- SARS has finalised an audit case or a Revised Declaration of your Personal Income tax; or
- If supporting documents for an active verification case has been submitted.
- Once the Request for Correction has been submitted, no action will be taken on the previous version as it will be replaced by the new version.
- On the Income Tax Work Page click on the tab “Request Correction” displayed below the “My Tax Return (ITR12)” hyperlink.
- An additional row will be displayed on the “Income Tax Work Page” where the status is recorded as saved and version is recorded as 2. The version number is dependent on the number of corrections requested.
- Click on the hyperlink “My Tax Return ITR12” of the “Saved” status and the previous version of the Income tax return will be displayed
- Complete the amendments in this version of the Income tax return and proceed to submit the new version of your Income tax return.
- If you request for correction on assessment that is older than 3 years after the date of assessment of the original assessment, and the request for correction result in a “Reduced Assessment” the assessment will be auto cancelled the following message “Please note that your return cannot be processed, as it is older than three years of an Original Assessment by SARS” will be displayed and you will not be allowed to request a correction.
Tax Verifications of declarations for personal income tax (3RD party data mismatch)
Taxpayers may receive a verification letter from SARS in relation to the Income tax return submitted which stipulates that they are presented with an opportunity to substantiate the declaration by either submitting supporting documents or a request for correction (RFC) to correct any errors made on the return within 15 working days from the date of the letter. Failure to submit a request for correction or provide the supporting documents to substantiate the declaration, may result in an Understatement Penalty (USP) of up to 200% in terms of the Tax Administration Act (TAA) No. 28 of 2011.
The following actions may result in no understatement Penalty (USP) being imposed:
- Submission of supporting documents which fully supports the claim lodged on the Income tax return.
The following actions may result in an appropriate understatement Penalty (USP) being imposed in line with the understatement Penalty policy guidelines.
- Submission of a request for correction (RFC) where the amounts of the claim are adjusted in part or in full, in line with the data in SARS possession.
- Submission of supporting documents which only supports a portion of the claim.
- The taxpayer does not respond to the audit letters which implies that the taxpayer is non-compliant.
- If the taxpayer submits supporting documents which do not support the claim.
Note the message states that an understatement penalty of 100% will be imposed in terms of the TA Act if it is determined that an incorrect statement was made in your original declaration.
- If you accept the declaration displayed on the message by clicking on the “Accept” button, the user will be presented with a saved copy of the last ITR12 return. Revise the return by referring to the Revising your income tax return section of this webpage
- If you do not accept the declaration displayed on the message by clicking “Decline”, you will be presented with a notification that further communicates the consequences of your choice to decline.
- Note the message states that an understatement penalty of 200% will be imposed in terms of the TA Act if you fail to supply SARS with the supporting documents or a request for correction of your previous claim.
Kindly note the contents of the understatement penalty message(s), as it is a declaration between the taxpayer and SARS.
- To resolve the verification or audit, SARS may request the supporting documents to justify the claim made on the Income tax return.
Retrieving the Audit Verification Letters
- The taxpayer will be notified via SMS/email, of an audit letter/correspondence which has been sent to him/her. The email correspondence will include a link that will direct the taxpayer to the SARS eFiling web page. The SMS on the other hand will advise the taxpayer that he/she has received correspondence from SARS and must login to eFiling to view it. The letter may be viewed by the user, on their eFiling profile, either by accessing the Income Tax Work Page or the SARS Correspondence functionality.
- On the “Income tax Work page”, click the “Number of letters” hyperlink.
- The Letters screen will be displayed with all the issued correspondence, as indicated in the below screen.
- Click on the “View” hyperlink to open and view the letter.
- Alternatively, the letter can be accessed using the SARS Correspondence menu option on the left of the screen by navigating on eFiling as follows:
- Click on “Search Correspondence” and the search fields will be displayed.
- Complete the relevant search fields and click “Search” to proceed.
Note: Ensure that the correct date is selected before clicking on the search button.
- The correspondence issued will be listed. To open and view the correspondence, click on the “View” button, or select the “Documents” button to upload any required supporting documents.
Completion of the RFC and the submission of supporting documents (receipt of the second letter)
- If after submitting a request for correction in response to the verification of income tax declaration letter, and the revised declaration still does not match with SARS records, then a request for supporting documents letter will be issued.
Refer to the Submission of Supporting Documents section of this webpage on how to submit supporting documents to SARS.
Additional functions on efiling
eFiling cannot only be used for filing purposes but rather for a variety of functions. These functions include revising your Income tax return, uploading supporting documents, receiving a pre calculated ITA34, statement of account to name a few. These additional functions are to be used by the taxpayer/tax representative to assist you in filing an accurate return which will give you a more comprehensive view of your income tax for the current and preceding financial years, thus ultimately encouraging control over your income tax filing responsibilities. This section will take you through the list of functions that you may use to assist you in filing your income tax return.
Request Historic Documents
- When you require a Statement of Account or a Historic Assessment notice, proceed as follows:
- On the Income Tax Work Page, click on the “Request Historic Documents” tab.
- The ‘Request Historic Issued Assessment Notices and Statement of Account’ screen will be displayed.
- Alternatively, you may access the “Statement of Account” navigation tab on the home screen of eFiling, as indicated below or by selecting “SARS Correspondence” and “Request Historic IT Notices”, you will be able to access the function.
Request a Notice of Assessment
To access the Notice of Assessment, select “I want to request a historic Notice of Assessment”
- Select the year, from 1999 – 2023.
- Select “Next”.
- A list of the historic notice of assessments will be displayed. Select the notice you want to request and click “Request”. If there are additional or reduced assessments available, other than the original assessment, select the required assessment notice to be generated.
- The Income tax notice of assessment hyperlink will be displayed. Click the hyperlink to view the notice of assessment.
Request a Statement of Account
- Click the “Request Historic Documents” button on the Income Tax Work Page or the navigation tab on the eFiling home screen.
- Select “I want to request a Statement of Account and click “Next” to proceed.
- Select the period, for which you would like to receive your Statement of Account, either six months to date or user-defined date range, enter the dates as required, and click the “Request” button.
- A message will be displayed to indicate that the ITSA is being requested from SARS. Click on the link provided to view your statement of account.
- The Statement of Account can also be viewed on the Income Tax Work page.
Maintain Legal Entity
- When interested in updating your legal entity details such as contact details, banking details etc. you may use this function. On the Income Tax Work page click on “Maintain Legal Entity Details”.
- The “Maintain SARS Registered Details” screen will be displayed.
- Read the message displayed on the screen, then check the box “I agree” and click “Continue” to proceed with changes to registration details.
- The Registration Amendments and Verification Form screen will be displayed. Refer to the external guide: “How to complete the Registration Amendments and Verification Form (RAV01)” which is available on the SARS website at www.sars.gov.za
- If you want to view notices on eFiling, you can utilise the “SARS Correspondence” functionality that is located on the “Returns” menu.
- Click on “SARS Correspondence” and “Search Correspondence”.
- The “Search Correspondence” screen will be displayed with multiple search options to select.
Complete the relevant field(s):
- Tax Types – Select Income Tax
- Tax Year – select the relevant tax year to search
- Letter Type – indicate the specific letter type to search
- Notice Type – indicate the specific notice type to search
- Received Date From
- Received Date To
- Message Type
- Reference Number
Click the “Search” button to continue or the “Clear” button to clear all fields.
- On completion of all search criteria and if there are correspondence available, it will be listed, as indicated in the below screen.
- Click on “View” to view the notification in pdf.
- If there are supporting documents required, the “Documents” button will be available to direct you to the Supporting Documents page to upload required documentation.
Make a Payment to SARS
- If you have an outstanding balance on your Income Tax Account, or want to initiate a payment to SARS via eFiling, proceed as described below:
Access Payments function
- To access the payment functionality on eFiling, click the “Returns” menu tab on the eFiling top ribbon, and “Payments” on the left side menu options. The below screen will be displayed.
- If you select the “Payment Guide” tab, you will be routed to the Payments webpage on the SARS website.
Bank Details Setup
This function allows you to set up your bank details before you will be able to initiate a payment to SARS.
- Click “Payments” and “Bank Details Setup” to save your bank details on eFiling.
- The “Banking Information” screen will be displayed.
- If you select the “Banking Product” field, a list of banks will be displayed. Select the relevant bank.
- After selecting the banking product (relevant bank), the specific fields for the selected bank will be displayed for completion. Complete the field(s) and select “Save” to proceed or “Back” to make changes to the bank information captured.
- After you have saved the bank details, the details will be saved on eFiling as indicated below.
- If you click the “Open” hyperlink, the banking Information page will be displayed.
- To remove the bank details, click the “Delete” button. Click “OK” to confirm the deletion of the bank details or “Cancel” to close the message.
- After you have confirmed the deletion of the bank details, no bank details will be displayed on the banking details page on eFiling.
Payment from the Income Tax Assessment Notice
- If your assessment result indicate that you owe SARS, you can make a payment from the Income Tax Assessment page by clicking the “Make Payment” button as indicated in the following screen.
- The Payment screen will be displayed. Click “Pay Now” to proceed and click “OK” on the confirmation message.
- The “Payment Details” screen will be displayed to proceed with the initiation of the payment. Proceed to the “Payment Initiation” section of this guide to complete the payment steps on eFiling.
- If you are ready to make a payment, select “Pay Now” and the following to sub-menu tabs will be displayed:
- General Unpaid
- Create Additional Payment
- Under the “General Unpaid” tab, a list of unpaid payments will be displayed according to the type of tax.
- If there are no unpaid payments, the following screen will be displayed.
- An example of an “unpaid” payment will be listed as indicated below. Select the payment transaction and click “Make electronic payment”.
- Once you have selected the “Make electronic payment” button, the “Payment Details” screen will be displayed.
- Select the “Account Name” and click the “Pay Now” button to proceed with the payment
- A message will be displayed to remind you to authorize the payment via your online banking profile. Click “OK” to proceed with the payment.
- A payment initiation confirmation will be displayed. Click “Confirm” to proceed or “Cancel” to be routed back to the Payment Details screen.
- A confirmation message will be displayed to indicate that the payment instruction has been submitted. Click “OK” to proceed.
Cancellation of Payments
- If you wish to cancel a payment that has not been authorised on your internet banking, follow the below steps.
- Select the “Awaiting Authorisation” item under the Payments tab to view all payments that require authorisation on your internet banking to finalise the payment to SARS.
The ‘Awaiting Authorisation’ page will allow the user to search or filter for the payments according to following fields:
- Taxpayer Name;
- If you enter a specific Taxpayer Name in the “Taxpayer Name” field, the Awaiting Authorisation page will display all payments related to the captured Taxpayer name when “Select All” has been selected from the Taxpayer drop down list;
- If a specific Taxpayer has been selected from the Taxpayer drop down list, the “Taxpayer Name” field will be disabled and the selected taxpayer name at the top will be populated into this field.
- Tax Product;
- If the user selects a specific product from the Tax Product drop down list, the payment history page will display all payments for all the taxpayers related to the selected Tax Product.
- Tax Reference Number;
- Payment Reference Number;
- Payment Status;
- Date From
- Date To
- If no payments have been made, the results section on the screen will be blank. A warning message will be displayed to indicate that no records exist for the search criteria. Click ‘OK’ on the message to proceed.
- If you have made payments, the results section will display the payment(s).
- Select the ‘View’ button and the ‘Payment Details’ screen will be displayed.
- To cancel the payment, click the ‘Cancel Payment’ button. A confirmation message will be displayed. Click ‘OK’ to confirm the cancellation of the payment.
- Once the payment has been cancelled, a message will be displayed to indicate that the payment has been cancelled successfully.
- The cancelled payment will be moved to Payments History and the status will be indicated as ‘Cancelled’.
The Payment History page will allow the user to search or filter for the payments according to following fields:
- Taxpayer Name;
- If you enter a specific Taxpayer Name in the “Taxpayer Name field, the Payment History page will display all payments related to the captured Taxpayer name when “Select All” has been selected from the Taxpayer Drop Down List;
- If a specific Taxpayer has been selected from the Taxpayer drop down list, the Taxpayer Name field will be disabled and the selected taxpayer name at the top will be populated into this field.
- Tax Reference Number;
- Payment Reference Number;
- Tax Product;
- If the user selects a specific product from the Tax Product drop down list, the payment history page will display all payments for all the taxpayers related to the selected Tax Product;
- Payment Status;
- Payment Created Date From
- Payment Created Date To
- Payment Date – is the date that the payment was approved on your bank product as per your bank account.
Select the “Payment History” item under the Payments tab to view all payments made to SARS via eFiling.
- The “Payment History” search screen will be displayed. Complete all relevant fields to search for payments made to SARS.
- On the payment history screen, the “Date From” field will be defaulted to 3 days prior to the selected Payment Date and the “Date To” field will be defaulted to 3 days post the selected Payment Date (this will be inclusive of weekends).
- Note: The Selection of payment “Date From” and “Date To” range must be limited to 6 months to avoid a delay in obtaining the results.
- If no payments have been made, the results section on the screen will be blank.
- If you have made payments, the results section will display the payment(s). Below are examples of the different payment statuses displayed on the payment history screen.
- Manually Paid – this payment was made outside of eFiling and recorded on eFiling.
- Awaiting Authorisation – this payment must be finalised on your internet banking profile and is awaiting authorisation.
- In-progress – the payment is pending;
- Rejected – the payment was rejected;
- Failed – the payment failed;
- Approved – the payment was successful;
- Reversed – the payment was reversed; and
- Cancelled – the payment was cancelled.
For further assistance with SARS Payments, refer to the “SARS Payment Rules” available on the SARS website www.sars.gov.za
Definitions, acronyms and abbreviations
The definitions, acronyms and abbreviations can be accessed here – Glossary webpage.
Legal disclaimer: In the event of conflict or inconsistency between this webpage and the PDF version of the guide, the latter shall prevail.