Tips on how to protect yourself from being sued by Sars

2018-10-05 16:40
SARS Building. (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

SARS Building. (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

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SARS has called on the South African public to take responsibility for their taxes by ensuring they make their submission before the 31 October deadline.

Tax season is currently open as the revenue services attempts to reach its collection target of R1.345 trillion. They are hopeful of reaching that mark having turned a sharp focus on outstanding tax returns and on debt.

“We’ve made improvements to our service, been more specific with letters to taxpayers and by paying out refunds on time and quickly,” SARS told DRUM.

The revenue service has also been quick to remind citizen’s that tax season is not solely about being refunded money but rather about reconciling tax deductions from the previous year and assessing whether the correct amount of tax was deducted.  

SARS is keen to reiterate that South African’s need to pay their taxes, “as it’s our obligation to the country.”. “These taxes go to development programmes that government has identified to better the country and in that way we are contributing to that process.”

This year SARS has come down hard on those that are non-complaint in filing their tax returns which is one of the first steps to meeting your tax obligations as a citizen. 

Ten taxpayers have been convicted and sentenced since April 2018 for failure to submit outstanding tax returns. They include Cape Town City midfielder Teko Modise and Christopher John Fletcher.

Both media personality, Bonang Matheba and Generations actor Rapulana Seiphemo have been brought before the Johannesburg Specialised crimes court in the past month for failing to submit personal income tax.

Only people who meet the four below criteria do not have to submit an income tax: 

-       Your total employment income / salary for the year is not more than R350 000
-       You only received employment income / salary for the full year of assessment from one employer.
-       You have no car allowance/company car/ travel allowance or other income (e.g. interest or rental income).
-       You are not claiming tax related deductions/rebates (e.g. medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions other than pension contributions made by your employer, travel).

The revenue service has called on citizens to use their efilling services – a 24 hour service to help the process of filling their taxes.

“We want more and more tax payers to go electronic,” they tell us. This avoids having to stand in a queue or having to take a day off work.  During October, the SARS contact centre and branches will operate on Saturday mornings from 8am – 1pm.

If someone does miss filling their returns during tax season deadline, they can still file but will incur administrative penalties, which can range from R250 to R16 000 per month.

The revenue services is also clamping down on outstanding tax returns. “If you have one outstanding return for a particular year, we would apply administrative penalties,” they say. 

“If we find that you have a couple of returns that have not been submitted, then we will take harsher action and that is when our law enforcement arm kicks in.”

This can often result in the matter being taken on by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and an individual’s case being heard before court.

Read more on:    tax

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