Last chance to file your tax return
05 November 2012
Posted by: SAIT Technical
By Brendan Peacock (Business Day)
Executive summary (SAIT Technical)
The deadline for electronic submission of individual tax returns is 23 November 2012. Provisional taxpayers have until 31 January 2013 to submit their returns. Failure to adhere to the deadline will result in penalties of at least R250 per month. The deadline for manual submission of returns has passed.
THE clock is ticking for South Africans who haven't yet filed their income tax return. Here's a quick guide to getting it done:
When is the deadline for personal income tax and what happens if I miss it?
Although the deadline for returns by post or drop-off at an SA Revenue Service box has already passed, you can file electronically at a SARS branch or via eFiling by November 23. Provisional taxpayers who file via eFiling have until January 31 to submit their returns. If you miss the deadline you face penalties of at least R250 a month until you file.
How do I file?
If you have not already registered for eFiling, you will need to do so.
An IT77 form can be found on the SARS website, and when you've completed it you can visit your nearest SARS branch and hand it in together with valid identification (ID, passport or driver's licence), your banking details (a certified or original copy of your account statement or an original letter from your bank confirming your bank details) and your income details for the past three years (such as copies of IRP5 forms from employers).
Once you have and been given a tax number, you can register at www.sarsefiling.co.za to complete your return online.
To register as an eFiler, visit the eFiling website and click on the Register button - this requires you to enter details about the company you work for and your tax reference number, and will take less than 10 minutes.
Once you have signed up for eFiling, you will no longer be sent income tax returns by post - in future you will be sent an e-mail notifying you that a return form has been created for you and is ready to be filled in.
When you log on to the eFiling website, you will be presented with an income tax work page, where you can complete, save and file your return.
If you cannot fill in all relevant information in one sitting, you can click on Save Return. When you have completed all the relevant fields, simply click on File. If you need to change any information, you can click on Request Correction to resubmit.
There are tools to help you, including a tax calculator and an online travel logbook.
Once you've filed your return, you will be provided with confirmation and you should be issued an initial assessment (of whether any tax payment is outstanding, or SARS owes you money) within a day or two.
If SARS owes you money, it will be paid directly into your bank account, usually within days of receiving your assessment.
There are other electronic options for eFilers - an eFiling mobisite and app - that allow you to file from your smartphone. The mobisite can be found at www.sarsefiling.mobi on your phone's browser.
The eFiling app - for smartphones, tablets or iPads - can be found from the app store for your mobile device (check out Google Play for Android devices or the Apple App Store).
Where can I get help before/while I'm filing my return?
There are various ways to get help directly from SARS, beginning with the contact centre: 0800 00 SARS (7277). If you call the contact centre, you'll need your ID number and income tax reference number at hand.
You can also visit a SARS branch, which you can find on the SARS website, www.sars.gov.za, under the Contact Us tab.
If you visit a branch, you'll need to take all supporting documentation (the documents you used to fill in your return as proof, such as an IRP5, IT3b interest certificates, tax certificates from your medical aid, and pension fund or retirement annuity certificates).
There are various ways to find help online, including Help-You-eFile, in which you log on to eFile your return and then allow a SARS consultant to join you in your browser session.
The consultant will not be able to see any sensitive financial information. Once you click on the Help-You-eFile icon on your login page you will receive a session ID. You can then phone the consultant (at the contact centre number) who will join you on the ITR12 form to guide you through it.
This service can also be used to help you through other eFiling functions, like supplying supporting documents, changing your password or requesting a correction.
SARS also has a YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/sarstax) with tutorials to help you complete your return.
What happens if I owe SARS money?
If the assessment provided by SARS is correct and further tax money is outstanding, you will be able to pay via the eFiling website. If you are a customer of Absa, CITIbank, FNB, Investec, Nedbank or Standard Bank, you can also do a "credit push” transfer where you log on to your account and authorise the transaction.
A further option - an authorised debit pull - gives SARS permission to debit the amount from your account. You can also make an electronic funds transfer.
A guide to who must file
You are eligible to file if you are under 65 and received an income of more than R59750 from one or more sources, or received R120000 or more from a single source of employment during the last year of assessment, which was from March 1 2011 to February 29 2012.
You are also eligible if you are aged 65 to 75 and received an income of more than R93150 from one or more sources or you received more than R120000 from a single source of employment during that period.
If you're over 75 and received more than R104261 from one or more sources or you received R120000 or more from a single source of employment during the specified period you're also eligible to file an ITR12.
Also eligible is anyone who: received an allowance for travel or subsistence, or an office-bearer allowance; held funds or assets outside the country more than R50000 in value; experienced a local capital gain or loss exceeding R20000; received any income or capital gain in a foreign currency; held any rights in a controlled foreign company; conducted trade in South Africa; or received a tax return, or was requested to submit one.