SARS, like Nike – just do it!


I have posted on this previously but it seems to be an increasing issue and even SARS call centre agents are starting to admit that their systems are not up to scratch! The result is that even if you are not liable to submit a tax return (in terms of SARS own rules) I strongly advise you to file your returns…we are coming across more and more hostile situations where SARS are insisting that ALL outstanding returns be filed…

SARS speaking with forked tongue (again)

Filing season for the 2015 tax year opens today and SARS have been sending out plenty of emails about this. One of them is titled “BE TAX SMART – Check if you need to submit an income tax return!” which implies that some people might not need to submit an annual return.  We followed the link on the email and this is what we found:

“Taxpayers earning less than R350 000 a year may not have to submit a tax return this year…this Tax Season the annual income threshold for submitting a tax return has been raised from R250 000 to R350 000.

This means that any taxpayer earning R350 000 or less during a tax year (1 March to the end February the next year) may not need to submit an income tax return as long as they also meet all the requirements listed below:

  • You earn a salary from only one employer (i.e. you get only one IRP5 or IT3A certificate).
  • You don’t have any other form of income (e.g. interest or rental income).
  • You don’t want to claim any tax related deductions (e.g. medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions or business travel expenses).”

All good and well and how very progressive of them, however, in our experience, tax payers who have not submitted returns (and who met the criteria for not submitting returns) are in for a nasty surprise when they die – or at least their executor is in for a nasty surprise. At your death, it seems to be SARS practice to insist that all the years’ outstanding returns are submitted – even though you were not required to submit a return. It is also an issue for people who have not submitted returns and who want to buy/sell property or get a tax clearance certificate…all “outstanding” returns must first be submitted…and there is no one with whom you can reason. Just do it!

So my advice is that until SARS sort out their systems and the estates department speaks to other departments, is that even though you might be exempt (in terms of their own criteria) submit a return. It will be a whole lot easier (for everyone) if all your returns are filed while you are still alive…it’s not always easy to get the required information when you are no longer around (and can certainly increase the costs of winding up your estate too).

Happy Filing Season 2015!

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