Start of the 2013 Tax Season
File “Easily, Honestly and On Time”
Johannesburg, 1 July 2013 – The 2013 Tax Season officially opened this morning.
From around 6.30am this morning, some 260 South African Revenue Service (SARS) officials across the country have been out at street intersections, train stations, hospitals, post offices, government buildings, shopping centres and other public areas to distribute leaflets during peak hour traffic to raise public awareness about the start of the Tax Season.
By the start of business this morning, more than 11 238 income tax returns have already been submitted though the internet on eFiling.
Based on last years’ experience SARS also expects that a high number of taxpayers will again approach SARS branch offices across the country from early this morning to submit their tax returns.
The response last year to the 2012 Tax Season last year was overwhelmingly positive.
Some of the highlights by the deadline at the end of November 2012 were:
- 5.66 million returns submitted for 2012 – 16.4% increase from 2011
- 1.4 million outstanding returns from previous years were submitted
- 99.86% of returns were submitted electronically
- 93% of returns were assessed within 3 seconds
- 99.58% of returns were assessed within 24 hours
- 94.5% of refunds paid were within 72 hours
- 646 559 new taxpayers were registered and submitted a return for the first time
- Refunds of 14.55 billion were paid to taxpayers which was 14.8% of R1.87 billion more than the previous year
SARS had received 1.4 million outstanding returns from previous years which is 25% (275 000) higher than the 1.09 million outstanding returns submitted by the 2011 deadline. This was a very encouraging indication that the administrative penalties that SARS impose for outstanding returns are having the desired effect of improving levels of compliance.
The annual Tax Season represents one of the biggest, direct engagements between a public institution of the South African Government and a growing body of millions of economically active citizens. It also serves as a key determinant of the levels of compliance amongst ordinary citizens with the laws of the country.
A key focus for 2013 is to encourage all taxpayers to use available electronic channels to file their tax returns, and to avoid queues in SARS branch offices.
The innovative Help-You-eFile service that was launched last year will this year be expanded to include assistance for the submission of IRP6 forms which is the tax return for provisional taxpayers. The eFiling MobiApp for smart phones has been expanded to allow for the submission of IRP6 returns submissions, submissions by Tax Practitioners, and the more complex ITR12 tax returns.
eFiling makes it possible for a taxpayer to complete and submit his or her tax return on internet, from their home or office, 24 hours per day, without having to visit a SARS branch office or wait in a queue. If the taxpayer is not able or confident to complete and submit the tax return themselves on eFiling, it can be done electronically by a SARS consultant at a SARS branch office in the presence of the taxpayer.
- Tax Season 2013 starts from 1 July 2013.
- The deadline for taxpayers, who submit their tax returns manually by post or by dropping them off in a SARS drop box, is 27 September 2013.
- The deadline for all non-provisional taxpayers is 22 November 2013. 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 is 31 January 2014. 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
Who must submit an income tax return?
The most significant policy change to be introduced in the 2013 Tax Season is the raising of the annual income threshold from R120 000 to R250 000 for the filing of income tax returns.
This change was announced in the 2013 Budget by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
As from this year, any taxpayer whose gross income for the year is below R250 000 needs not file a tax return if they meet the following criteria:
- they only earn one salary from one employer (i.e. they only have one IRP5);
- they do not have any other form of income (e.g. interest or rental income) and
- they need not claim deductions such as medical expenses, retirement annuities or travel expenses.
If there is an uncertainty about who should submit a tax return, taxpayers can get the correct information at www.sars.gov.za on the 2013 Tax Season page. Alternatively taxpayers can call the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277.
Is your Tax Practitioner Registered?
The Tax Administration Act (2011) has been amended so that tax practitioners must register with a recognised controlling body. This process to recognise these controlling bodies is underway and will be completed in July 2013. The recognition is being done so that SARS can ensure that tax practitioners are appropriately qualified and that a mechanism is available, both to taxpayers and SARS, to address misconduct by tax practitioners. SARS would like to remind taxpayers that the taxpayer ultimately remains personally liable for their own tax affairs, the information on their tax return and general compliance.
Beware of fraudsters
Unfortunately, criminals often try and use Tax Season to take advantage of unsuspecting taxpayers. Taxpayers must beware of emails that ask for personal, tax, banking and eFiling details (login credentials, passwords, pins, credit/debit card information, etc). SARS will never ask taxpayers for such information in an email. SARS will also not request banking details over the phone, or via email, SMS or websites. Taxpayers who are concerned about emails or SMS messages claiming to be from SARS should:
- Visit the SARS website Scams and Phishing
- Email [email protected]
- Call the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 00 2870, or
- Call the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277
Upgrade Adobe Flash Player
Taxpayers will now need to have Adobe Flash Player version 11 or later loaded on their devices in order to access documents and forms on SARS eFiling. It can be downloaded for free from the SARS eFiling website (www.sarsefiling.co.za).
SARS wants to thank the growing number of compliant taxpayers who submit their tax returns during 2012. It is this shared responsibility that has contributed to our country’s fiscal strength and stability.