Zwai Bala’s scary R3 million tax bill: here’s your guide to your taxes in 2018

Zwai Bala during the Naledi Theatre Awards
Zwai Bala during the Naledi Theatre Awards

According to an article in DRUM, Zwai, along with the other members of TKZee, Tokollo Tshabalala and Kabelo Mabalane, found themselves in hot water with the tax man in 2006.

SARS told them that they had not paid taxes between 1999 and 2005 after receiving money from Sony BMG Music Entertainment, the SA Music Rights Organisation and Electro Mode Music South Africa.

Zwai says none of them ever submitted tax returns either, and now, it has taught him to be a lot smarter with his money. 

READ MORE: It’s 2018 and female athletes are still not paid the same as male athletes

Now, tax season for individuals officially started on 1 July, so that dreaded time is upon us. But the reason many of us drag our feet when it comes to this obligation is because we think there’s just so much admin and hassle involved, but that doesn’t have to be the case. 

And besides, you could score some money out if it too!

Of course it’s a different matter if you suspect you might have to pay some money in, but that doesn’t mean that you should slack on doing your returns because then you’ll only make things worse for yourself in the long run.

So, are you keen on turning things around this year and getting your tax done on time? Are you just not sure where to start if it’s your first time doing it? Or do you simply need a brush up on what you’ll need and the easiest way to submit it?

We’ve got you covered:  

1. First determine whether or not you actually need to do a tax return

Depending on the amount of money you earn per year, you might not even have to submit a tax return. According to SARS, if you earn under R350 000 per annum, from a single employer and have no additional forms of income, then you don’t need to submit one.

What it essentially means is that you still pay taxes, but that you aren't under any obligation to file a return - especially if you don't have anything to claim. This does mean that you won't get any money back, but that is often the case anyway when you have no additional expenses or sources of income.

If you earn more than that, you’ll need to file and submit a form, taking into account factors like medical expenses, business travel and company car usage, to mention but a few.

More on that here

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2. What to do if you’ve never submitted a tax return

If this is your first time doing your tax return, you must first make sure you have a tax number.

Financial advisor and tax practitioner, Charné van der Walt says: “If you do not have a tax number and are not sure if you need one, then you must contact SARS or a tax practitioner to check whether you should register.”

Read the full step-by-step guide on how to get your tax number and how to keep your SARS records in order

WATCH: How to find out if you owe SARS money

3. What documents should you have ready when you're submitting your tax return?

So now that you have your tax number sorted out, just what should you have ready in addition to that?

Charné suggests that you keep all your documents from the tax year (a tax year in South Africa usually starts from 1 March and ends 28 February, so documents within that bracket are the ones you need to submit).

Most importantly, out of all the documents you have on hand, make sure your employer provides you with a copy of your IRP5 form.

To find out what else you need in order to complete your tax return, read this guideline

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4.  Tax tips and advice

Want your tax submission to be as painless as possible? Keen on finding how eFiling makes your life that much easier? Or why you should always be honest in your returns ( has a list of all tax offences that could land you in hot water – or worse, in jail!)

These top 5 tips for a painless tax season will definitely come in handy.

Lastly, if you really want to avoid the schlep of all that admin, you might just want to get a tax practitioner to help you. Of course, that will cost you money, but if you are able to pay for the help, then it’s definitely something you should look into.

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