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6 top tips to streamline the 2013 tax season

18 June 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Jannie Marais
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Author: Jannie Marais, Product manager, (CQS Technology Holdings)

The submission of tax returns is always a moving target thanks to the reality of continually evolving legislation. Probably the most noteworthy update for this tax season is that tax submissions for companies and close corporations have changed from the old IT14 to the new, dynamic ITR14. This represents further effort from SARS to effectively close loopholes and eliminate unethical practices, while leaving little room for interpretation.

It is therefore advisable that every amount declared in a tax return should be adequately substantiated with reliable evidence.

Based on these developments, my top six tips to streamline the 2013 tax season are:

  • Ensure accurate and complete data capture

Start by reporting all income and store all supporting documents safely. 

Ensure that private expenses are removed from those categorised as business expenses (which are not made in the production of income).

Private assets should be removed from the business balance sheet; fixed asset registers must be up-to-date. Write-off periods should be executed in terms of Interpretation Note number47 (issue 3), indicating how wear and tear is calculated.

  • Application of tax legislation

When preparing the tax computation and subsequent tax return, ensure that the relevant tax legislation is considered and complied with on every inclusion, income exemption, deduction, and assessed loss.

Prepare a separate tax computation calculating the tax payable/refundable and keep it with the financial statements.

Submit the tax computation with the financial statements in PDF format to SARS to ensure the assessor has a clear understanding of how the tax owing was calculated.

  • Prepare tax schedules

Some of the tax schedules are compulsory for some claims and industry types. These are listed on the SARS website: www.sars.gov.za/TaxTypes/CIT/Pages/CompletinganITR14.aspx 

Even though tax schedules may not be requested for all expenditure claimed against the taxable income, it is essential that schedules are prepared and kept on file. These should preferably be in electronic format for quick submission through e-filing if requested by SARS.

  • Include Financial Statements with ITR14 filings

The requirement that financial statements must accompany the ITR14 filing was introduced recently. When submitting financial statements, ensure that they are free of material misstatements, and remember that they should be filed in PDF format. 

  • Provide accurate information

It’s simple: the type and quality of company information that you submit to SARS will determine how well you sleep at night. Before completing the ITR14, make sure that your business details are updated. Refer to SARS’ website for the page "Keeping my business details up to date”; failure to do so could open the door for fraud at your expense. 

While you’re there, spend some time on the SARS website as it is a great place to find everything you need to file your ITR14 return. The website also provides tax schedules, guidelines and submission tools, all of which are there to assist you in the filing process. Just make sure your computer has the right software (Adobe Flash Player, Version 11 or later) required for completing the customised, dynamic ITR14.

Review your tax return before submitting it. Avoiding mistakes will save you time in the long run. We all rush and that’s when mistakes are made.

If you are a tax practitioner, weigh up your filing options; there are numerous alternatives available when preparing your tax return. These include software options that will automate the tax submission process for you, checking for inaccuracies and directly linking to efiling, saving you time and improving your overall efficiency. 

Above all, remember that there is noroom for clever tax schemes – stick to the rule of the law if you value your rest.

  • Get it right the first time

In your dealings with SARS, the one thing you really want to get done right is your e-filing status. This is important because it can determine how much you pay (or save) in taxes. If you get it wrong, it will come back to haunt you. If your information is not consistent and accurate, analytics software used by SARS could result in your account being flagged for the dreaded audit. Should that happen (for whatever reason), you will really want to be certain that your filings are impeccable.


WHY REGISTER WITH SAIT?

Section 240A of the Tax Administration Act, 2011 (as amended) requires that all tax practitioners register with a recognized controlling body before 1 July 2013. It is a criminal offense to not register with both a recognized controlling body and SARS.

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS TO REGISTER

The Act requires that a minimum academic and practical requirments be set to register with a controlling body. Click here for the minimum requirements of SAIT.

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