SARS announces start of 2024 tax filing season

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) announced 15 July 2024 as the start of the filing season for provisional and non-provisional taxpayers who must file a tax return.

Auto-assessments for an expanded pool of South African taxpayers will run from 1 to 14 July 2024.

Taxpayers whose contact details, including an email address, cell phone number, and banking details, have changed must update these details on eFiling or the SARS MobiApp.

“Updating this information goes a long way toward preventing fraud and identity theft,” the revenue service said.

SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter has assured taxpayers that SARS remains committed to making filing season for standard taxpayers an invisible process.

He said it would require little or no action from the taxpayer due to the use of big data, machine learning, and algorithms.

The Revenue Service explained that its strategic objective was to make it easy for taxpayers to meet their legal obligations.

“The pool of taxpayers who will be auto assessed will increase to about 4.8 million this year compared to about 3.8 million taxpayers last year,” SARS said.

Taxpayers who agree with the auto-assessment do not have to do anything. If a refund is due, it will be paid within 72 hours. If tax is due, the taxpayer must pay by the due date.

If taxpayers disagree with the auto-assessment, they should make changes and file their return via eFiling or the SARS MobiApp on or before 21 October 2024.

SARS provided details about the 2024 filing season dates.

  • Auto-assessment notices: 1 to14 July 2024
  • Individual taxpayers (non-provisional): 15 July 2024 to 21 October 2024
  • Provisional taxpayers: 15 July 2024 to 20 January 2025
  • Trusts: 16 September 2024 to 20 January 2025

“The large number of digital platforms reinforces the trend of a decreasing number of taxpayers needing to visit branches and wait in queues,” Kieswetter said.

It is expected that in the first two weeks of July and the first two weeks of October, there may be instances where taxpayers may need to wait longer than usual to be serviced.

“Taxpayers who are auto-assessed but who wish to claim the solar tax rebate must complete their tax return and file it in the normal way,” SARS said.

Taxpayers can also contact SARS through the SARS Online Query System. They can use this service without going into a SARS branch or calling SARS.

They can use the service to submit a payment allocation query, request a tax reference number, and submit supporting documents.

They can also report a new estate case, update the registered representative, request their tax compliance status, and verify their tax compliance status.

They can also check if a taxpayer is due for an auto-assessment, which can only be done once the process starts on 1 July.

Kieswetter urged South African taxpayers to be transparent and accurate when filing their tax returns to enable a constructive relationship with SARS.

“The use of technology and data has enhanced SARS’ ability to detect instances of non-compliance,” he said.

“Taxpayers must not inflate their expenses and under-declare their income to obtain impermissible refunds.”

He said not including rental income is an example. “Such actions will make the taxpayer potentially guilty of fraud,” Kieswetter said


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