Time running out for taxpayers

Cape Town - Non-provisional taxpayers who have not yet submitted their returns are fast running out of time.

The deadline for their submissions is Friday November 22.

SA Revenue Service spokesperson Adrian Lackay told Fin24 taxpayers who want to submit via e-filing at a Sars office had better ensure they are there as early as possible.

The Sars offices will close at 16:00 on Friday and the queues will be managed in such a way that the office can close on time.

Non-provisional taxpayers, the bulk of the South African taxpayer base, who want to do e-filing (but not at a Sars branch), have until midnight on Friday to meet the deadline.

Provisional taxpayers have until the end of January to do their filing. This includes directors of companies or people with other forms of income apart from a salary.

Provisional tax is paid by people who earn income other than a salary or traditional remuneration paid by an employer.

In 2012, 99.86% of tax returns were filed electronically, which shows a very strong adoption to the e-filing method, but further actions need to be taken to ensure that the number of returns filed last year are met and exceeded this year, said financial services firm Direct Axis.

Direct Axis has compiled an income tax guide to assist South Africans with their income tax returns.

The guide will serve to help people understand the intricacies of filing a tax return using the Sars e-filing system.

Recent adjustments to the income tax threshold made by Sars may have resulted in confusion among many South Africans on their obligation to submit tax, particularly among young graduates entering the workplace for the first time.

As part of the guide, a decision tree to help determine whether submitting a tax return is necessary has been included.
South African taxpayers who earn less than R250 000 per year will no longer be required to file a tax return, depending on factors such as whether or not they only earned one salary from one employer, have no additional forms of income, no claims for medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions or travel expenses.

The missing 1.8 million

Figures from Sars suggest that the number of registered taxpayers for the 2012/2013 tax year was around 13.7 million, yet only 5.6 million tax returns were filed last year.

To date only 3.8 million tax returns have been submitted for the 2013 tax filing season, leaving a shortfall of nearly 1.8 million submissions compared with last year.

It is highly likely that South Africans are leaving the submission of their tax returns to the last minute and this figure will grow in the next few days as the Friday deadline approaches.

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