MONEY CLINIC | When do I need to file a tax return?

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For natural persons, your return must be filed on or before 23 November 2021, unless you are a provisional taxpayer.
For natural persons, your return must be filed on or before 23 November 2021, unless you are a provisional taxpayer.
Thana Prasongsin

Not sure whether you need to submit a tax return?

Jean du Toit, head of tax technical at Tax Consulting SA discusses whether you need to submit a tax return or not:

Do you need to submit a tax return?

The commissioner of the SA Revenue Service (SARS) prescribes per government notice who is required to submit a tax return. The notice in respect of the 2021 year of assessment was published on 14 May 2021. SARS also posted a "Do you need to submit a return?" webpage on 11 June, which is aimed at guiding taxpayers to make this determination ahead of the filing season starting on 1 July 2021. 

Who does not need to file a return?

The notice stipulates that you will not be required to submit a return if your gross income consisted solely of the following: 

  • Remuneration paid from a single source that does not exceed R500 000 and PAYE was deducted as prescribed. It is likely that this may find application for normal salaried employees whose only source of income is their salary; 
  • Interest (other than interest from a tax-free investment) from a source in South Africa not exceeding R23 800 if you are below the age of 65 years and R34 500 if you are aged 65 years or older;
  • Dividends and you were non-resident throughout the 2021 year of assessment; and
  • Amounts received or that accrued from a tax free-free investment. 

This exemption may not be applicable if you received a travel, subsistence or office bearer allowance from your employer, unless the allowance is aligned with specific rates prescribed by the SARS commissioner.

The exemption is also not applicable if your remuneration includes any taxable fringe benefits, or if any part of your remuneration is for services rendered outside South Africa. 

Who must file an income tax return?

Natural persons who do not meet the requirements of the exemption must submit a return in the following instances:

  • Resident taxpayers who carried on a trade, other than in their capacity as an employee;
  • Non-resident taxpayers who carried on any trade in South Africa, other than in their capacity as an employee;
  • Resident taxpayers who had capital gains or losses exceeding R40 000 for the 2021 year of assessment;
  • Non-resident taxpayers who had a capital gain or loss that is subject to capital gains tax in South Africa – generally this will only be the case where the taxpayer disposed of immovable property situated in South Africa;
  • Resident taxpayers who held any funds in foreign currency or owned any assets outside South Africa if the value thereof exceeded R250 000 at any point during the 2021 year of assessment;
  • Resident taxpayers to whom income or capital gains from funds in foreign currency or foreign assets was attributed in terms of the Income Tax Act;
  • Resident taxpayers who either alone or together with any connected person hold at least 10% of the participation rights in a controlled foreign company;
  • If your gross income does not meet the requirements of the exemption and exceeded the tax threshold – R83 100 (under the age of 65 years), R128 650 (65 years or older but under the age of 75 years) and R143 850 (75 years or older). The requirement to file a return in this instance does not apply if you are notified that you are eligible for automatic assessment and your tax position on SARS’ record is complete and correct when the automatic assessment is accepted; and
  • Non-resident taxpayers whose gross income included interest from a source in South Africa, which was not exempt under section 10(1)(h) of the Income Tax Act. 

When must you file your return?

For natural persons, your return must be filed on or before 23 November 2021, unless you are a provisional taxpayer. If the return relates to a provisional taxpayer, it must be submitted on or before 31 January 2022. 

Questions may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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