Tax returns: what you need to know

By Kirstin Buick
20 November 2013

If you haven’t submitted your tax return get cracking! The deadline is this Friday, 22 November 2013 and you may be jailed if you haven’t declared your income to Sars by then.

If you haven’t submitted your tax return get cracking! The deadline is this Friday, 22 November 2013.

Those who own businesses or are self-employed can relax – they have until January 2014 to submit their returns, according to Cape Town tax consultant Le Roux van der Walt.

But if you’re an employee earning more than R120 000 a year from one employer you may be jailed if you haven’t declared your income to Sars by this Friday.

“You may be penalised, summonsed and might even be jailed,” Le Roux says. “But Sars puts people in jail only if they owe a lot of money or haven’t submitted a return for up to four years.

“You’ll have to pay a fine if you evade tax. The fines are based on a sliding scale.

“The minimum is R250 a month for as long as your return is outstanding but it can be as high as R1 000 and more a month, depending on your income. The more you earn the more you’ll pay.

“And remember, that’s a month. If your return is 12 months late and your fine is R1 000 a month, you’ll have to pay R12 000.”

There are three ways in which you can submit your return: at a Sars office, online through e-filing and through a tax consultant.

“At this time of year tax consultants are very busy – and they may charge up to R3 000 for their services, although they usually charge R600 to R700.

“The problem with e-filing is that people make a lot of mistakes and it’s difficult to correct mistakes – there’s no undo key.

“Remember, e-filing is legally binding. If you submit a mistake and Sars finds you owe money they’ll hold you accountable for it.

“So make very, very sure your information on e-filing is correct before you press the Are you sure you want to submit? button.”

  – Christiaan Boonzaier Share your thoughts:

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