Pretoria, 1 July 2015 — The South African Revenue Service (SARS) today launches the 2015 Tax Season. Since the commencement of Tax Season nine hours ago (00:01 today), when taxpayers could officially commence completing and submitting their 2015 tax returns, 29 473 taxpayers have submitted returns via eFiling, whilst 7305 have filed via our branches and Mobile Tax Units.
Tax Season has grown into an important partnership between government and taxpayers who make a vital contribution to our country’s tax system.
The major change impacting taxpayers this Tax Season relates to who is required to submit an Income Tax Return (ITR 12). This year taxpayers whose total salary for the year is below R350 000 (last tax season the threshold was R250 000) may not need to submit a tax return if:
- Their total salary for the year before tax is not more 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, travel expenses.
If there is an uncertainty about who should submit a tax return, taxpayers can get assistance on the 2015 Tax Season webpage.
Alternatively taxpayers can call the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277.
As with the previous years, when the tax threshold was also increased, SARS expects a marginal decrease of approximately 850 000 tax returns from the 5.32 million tax returns submitted in 2014, primarily due to the introduction of a higher submission threshold.
Making it easy for taxpayers to file their returns
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 52 branches nationwide, 21 Mobile Tax Units that service taxpayers in remote areas of the country and increased efficiency at the SARS Contact Centre. Last Tax Season, the SARS Call Centre assisted more than 3.3 million taxpayers on the phone, more than 2 million taxpayers filed their returns at a SARS branch while 2.5 million taxpayers did so via eFiling.
Taxpayers are once again encouraged to use SARS eFilingto submit their tax returns as it is the quickest and easiest way to submit a return and is available 24 hours. eFilers can now also file their returns via the SARS eFiling App for submission via a smart phone or tablet. Once again 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.
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.
This year SARS has further improved its ability to verify taxpayer information through third party data. We advise taxpayers that SARS will, in particular, focus on medical aid claims, retirement fund contributions, income protection policy contributions and taxpayers who submit revised returns for previous years. Taxpayers are urged to provide correct and accurate information on their returns. Incorrect information could result in audits and penalties being applied.
Tax Practitioners — Recognition of Controlling Bodies
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.
Building on previous Tax Season successes
Consistent growth in the levels of tax compliance has been a hallmark over the years with 5.32 million income tax returns submitted during the 2014 Tax Season. This means that 4.05 million taxpayers (94.49%) who were required to submit a tax return last year did so on-time. This was 10.14% higher than the 3.69 million figure of 2013.
A review of 2014 Tax Season highlights the following:
- 94.49% of eligible taxpayers submitted returns on time – an increase from the 91.53% in 2013
- A total number of 5.32 million returns were submitted by the deadline
- 99.91 % of returns were submitted electronically
- 94.98% of returns were assessed within 3 seconds
- 98.0% of refunds were paid in 72 hours
- 1.02 million outstanding returns from previous years were submitted
- SARS received R436 million in outstanding penalties from defaulting taxpayers.
Deadline Dates for the 2015 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 30 September 2015.
- The deadline for all non-provisional taxpayers is 27 November 2015. 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 29 January 2016. Provisional taxpayers using eFiling can make payments until
31 January 2016. 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
Taxpayers who are concerned about emails or SMS messages claiming to be from SARS should:
- Visit the Scams and Phishing webpage
- Email [email protected]
- Call the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 00 2870, or
- Call the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277.