Author: Nicolette Dirk (IOL)
By the close of the first day of tax season that started on Wednesday, 171 568 tax returns had been submitted to the South African Revenue Service (SARS), which was an overall 5.7 percent increase in submissions compared to 2014.
SARS commissioner Tom Moyane said it was encouraging, considering that the threshold for submitting an income tax return this year was increased to R350 000 from R250 000.
"This achievement is a great start for tax season and sends out a very positive compliance message by taxpayers,” said Moyane.
He said the country’s democracy would not be where it was today without tax contributions by all South Africans.
"The future of South Africa and those who live in it depends on the continued involvement of our citizens,” he said.
"On behalf of the South African Revenue Service, I would like to thank taxpayers for making our job easier by their willing participation in tax season.
"For our part, we will continuously strive to make your interaction with us as seamless, efficient, simple and convenient as possible,” said Moyane.
SARS spokesperson Luther Lebelo said this year 44 421 taxpayers had submitted their taxes at the various SARS branches and 125 548 had filed using the e-filing system.
But despite the increase in e-filing submissions, Lebelo said people who used that method still enquired about it at their SARS branch.
"South Africans prefer a face-to face experience when it comes to filing their taxes,” he said.
But SARS has streamlined the process for taxpayers at their branches, where small businesses’ tax filing is done at a separate queue from individual tax submissions.
Individuals who have specific queries are also helped by consultants dealing with their queries.
This means that people with tax clearance queries will not stand in the same queue as other taxpayers and will be helped sooner.
SARS has also introduced an app which allows you to register for e-filing, submit a return (even a complex ITR12) and reset your password, all via your smartphone.
You can also view your notice of assessment (ITA34), view your income tax statement of account (ITSA), use its tax calculator and request a correction.
The Sars Smartphone App is a mobile application which taxpayers can install from the App Store and Google Play Store on their android phone/tablet or Apple iPhone, iPad/iPad mini and Samsung Galaxy/Note in order to complete and submit their individual Income Tax Return (ITR12).
This article first appeared on iol.co.za.