How does Auto-Assessment work

Auto-Assessment – we have made it easier for you

On this page, we will be telling you more on how auto-assessment will work this year. See the dates for Filing Season 2022 and more information on the Filing Season landing page.

If you are not in the auto-assessment group, and need to submit in a return, see our info for provisional and non-provisional taxpayers, in the 2022 Tax Filing Season media release.

Frequently asked questions

How is Auto-Assessment different this year (2022) from last year (2021)?

This year we will again issue auto-assessments to taxpayers whose tax affairs are less complicated. However, we have made it much easier this year – if you are in agreement with your auto-assessment then there is no need to “accept” the assessment. If SARS did not get your assessment right, you can still let us know by filing a tax return in the normal way, with the additional information, within 40 business days of the date of your assessment.

 How does the Auto-Assessment work?

SARS receives data from employers, medical schemes, banks, retirement annuity funds and others. We then use that data to calculate your tax assessment. If we are satisfied that the data and tax calculation is correct, we issue the assessment to you via eFiling or the SARS MobiApp. At the same time, we also send you a message via your preferred channel of communication (like SMS or email) to let you know that your assessment on eFiling or SARS MobiApp is ready for you to view.

 What must I do when I receive my auto-assessment?

The first thing to do is to log into eFiling or the SARS MobiApp and view your assessment. You will be able to see all the data we used to calculate your assessment.

If you are in agreement with the assessment, then check if a refund is due to you or if you owe SARS. If a refund is due, then there is nothing more you have to do– you can log out of eFiling or MobiApp and wait for the refund, which you can expect within approximately seventy-two (72) hours, provided your banking details with SARS are correct. If you owe SARS, then make the payment via eFiling or SARS MobiApp.

If you are not in agreement with the assessment, you can access your tax return via eFiling or SARS MobiApp, complete the return, and file it within 40 business days from the date that SARS issued your assessment to you.

 How do I know the data is correct?

This year, for the first time, you can view your data in detail, as follows:

  1. Login onto eFiling
  2. Select the “Third Party Data Certificate” search button on the menu bar
  3. Submit / search any certificate that you wish to verify
  4. Select the certificate type in question.


If there is an error on your data or the data is incomplete, you can correct it by doing two things:

  1. Ask the institution that provided the data to SARS to correct it by sending updated data to SARS and yourself.
  2. When you receive the updated data, access your tax return on eFiling or MobiApp, update the data on the tax return, and file your tax return via eFiling or the SARS MobiApp.

 What if a tax refund is due to me?

If a refund is due to you, then the refund will follow automatically – you do not have to ask for it. This takes approximately seventy-two (72) hours from the date on which we issued your assessment to you on eFiling or SARS MobiApp, but in some cases a little bit longer. It is important to ensure that your banking details with SARS are correct in order for SARS to pay the refund successfully.

 What if tax is due to SARS (I’m owing SARS)?

If your assessment shows that you owe tax to SARS, it is important to make payment as soon as possible to avoid interest. The payment due date of the amount owed to SARS is displayed on the “Notice of Assessment” (ITA34).

The easiest way to make payment is to log into eFiling or SARS MobiApp and schedule the payment there.

However, you can also make payment at any branch of Absa, FNB, Nedbank, Standard Bank and Capitec, or make an electronic funds transfer (EFT) using the standard drop-down listing of pre-loaded beneficiary IDs provided by the bank. The beneficiary reference is the Payment Reference Number (PRN) listed on your notice of assessment (ITA34).

Will SARS select me for verification or audit?

No, we have already quality checked your assessment and if you agree with the assessment, you will not be selected for verification or audit.

However, you must please make sure that your assessment is complete. For example, if you received rental income or other income or have deductions in addition to what we reflected in your assessment, you must file a tax return with the information in addition to what we have already pre-populated on your tax return, within 40 business days of the date of your assessment. In such a case, you may possibly be selected for verification or, where appropriate, for audit. It is therefore very important that you have supporting documents for any changes you want us to make to your auto-assessment.

What must I do if I do not agree with my auto-assessment?

There is no need to file an objection to the assessment. Simply access your tax return via eFiling or MobiApp, complete the return, and file it via eFiling or MobiApp within 40 business days from the date on which SARS issued your assessment to you.

If you cannot file the tax return within 40 business days, you can request extension via eFiling or MobiApp. We explain this in more detail below.

If we accept the updates in your tax return, we will issue a reduced or additional assessment to you. If we do not accept the updates in your tax return, we will let you know why not. If you disagree with the reason(s) why we did not accept the updates in your tax return, the normal objection and appeal facility will be available to you.

Can I ask for extension to file a tax return if I cannot file it within 40 days?

Yes, you can apply for extension via eFiling or the SARS MobiApp.

SARS can extend the 40 business days if we receive the request for extension before the expiry of the 40 business days, together with reasonable grounds. SARS can also extend the 40 business days after the expiry of the 40 business days if the taxpayer’s request is submitted to SARS within 21 business days after the expiry of the 40 business days, and if accompanied by reasonable grounds. SARS can also extend the 40 business days after the expiry of the 40 business days if a taxpayer’s request is submitted to SARS within 3 years after the expiry of the 40 business days, and if accompanied by exceptional circumstances.

​By when must I file a tax return?

You are part of the auto-assessment process, so you are not required to file a tax return.

However, if you are not in agreement with your auto-assessment, you have to file a tax return in the normal way within 40 business days from the date that SARS issued the assessment to you or, if extension was granted by SARS, within the extended period.

​Is the official Filing Season due date of 24 October 2022 for filing tax returns applicable to me?

You are part of the auto-assessment process, which means that the due date of 24 October 2022 does not apply to you if you are in agreement with your assessment.

However, if you are not in agreement with your auto-assessment, and you file a tax return after 24 October 2022, your return will be considered late like any other 2022 tax return received after that date.

Can I ask for extension to file a tax return if I cannot file it within 40 business days?

The request for extension is available to taxpayers who SARS has raised the estimated assessment i.e., auto assessment, manual assessments and estimates raised automatically for returns regarded to be “outstanding” for previous years.

Can SARS give me extra time even after the extension of 40 days?

A taxpayer can get an extension after the 40 days has expired. The taxpayer has to submit an extension request (with reasonable grounds for the extension) to SARS within 21 business days after the expiry.

How to access the “request for extension” button for extension on eFiling and MobiApp

 The “Request for Extension” button will only be available to taxpayers that have received original estimates raised by SARS on eFiling and MobiApp.

What is the cut off period for requesting a correction if I was auto assessed?

Once you have submitted/filed your original return after the estimated assessment (auto assessment) is raised, then you will be able to request for correction if not satisfied with submission.

How will I get confirmation of extension being approved or declined?

Once the extension has been evaluated by SARS, an outcome will be posted to the taxpayer via eFiling or MobiApp. This letter will confirm if the request for extension was granted or declined. It will also communicate the date of extension.

Need help?

There is no need to visit a SARS branch.  We have made it easy to engage with us through our digital platforms.  You can use any of the following digital platforms to engage us:

  1. SARS eFiling – we made numerous enhancements to make your life easier.
  2. SARS MobiApp – similar to eFiling but available only on a mobile phone or a tablet. You can download the App on Google Play for Android, Huawei App gallery and App Store for Apple devices. You are not required to file a tax return, but if you need to file one to correct your auto-assessment and you are not sure how to do it, you can use our Help-You-eFile service on eFiling.
  3. The SARS Online Query System is an easy-to-use online platform that is accessible via the SARS Website (www.sars.gov.za). You can use this service without going into a SARS branch or calling.  Via this service you can:

To learn more about how to use our various digital platforms, visit the SARS TV YouTube channel for detailed video tutorials.

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