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SARS has started sending auto-assessments out.

What does this mean?

Well, you do not have submit your tax return, but you do have to accept the auto-assessment. 330,000 taxpayers out of 3- million to whom SARS has sent an SMS to notify them of the auto-assessment of their tax have already accepted these assessments. To accept your auto-assessment login in to the MobiApp or e-filing platform.

STOP: DON’T “Click Accept” just yet, even if it looks like you are owed a tempting refund.

Check your Assessment

Before agreeing to the auto-assessment, you need to be sure that all your income and deductions are recorded.

Has SARS included all your income and deductions?

Has all your income been included:

  • Rental Income
  • Side hustle Income 🙊

And more importantly has all your deductions been included that SARS may not be aware of, which you need to bring to their intention, like:

  • Rental expenses
  • Side hustle expenses
  • Your contributions towards retirement funds are deductible
  • Medical contributions to medical aids may be pre-populated, but out of pockets ie medical cost not recovered from your medical may qualify you for additional credit.
  • Donations to PBOs – If you’re a generous soul who likes to support a charity, you’ll be pleased to know that any donations given to registered Public Benefit Organisations ie organisations that issue a S18A certificate are tax deductible.
  • Depreciation on personal devices – The work environment is changing and these days many salaried employees make use of personal devices for work purposes (e.g laptops or cellphones). If you’re using a device purchased and maintained in your personal capacity for work, you may be able to claim the depreciation on the device as a tax deduction
  • Home Office Expenses – If you’re a salaried employee but work mainly from home in a specifically dedicated space, e.g. a study or office area not used for any other purpose, you’re able to claim certain running costs associated with that space. These may include:
    • Rent
    • Interest on your mortgage bond
    • Cleaning
    • Rates
    • Electricity
    • Maintenance (repairs – note: not cosmetic improvements)
    • Wear and tear on office equipment
  • Travel Claim – There are a few specific circumstances where you can claim your business mileage

How to check?

Don’t check from the assessment, choose ‘Edit Return’ to get to the ‘Returns Issued’ page. If you need to edit the return you can do so on the MobiApp or e-filing platform.

How long will SARS take to Assess your return?

Sars Commissioner Edward Kieswetter says 8 out of 10 taxpayers will get an assessment in less than three seconds and 7 out of 10 due a refund should get the money within 72 hours. Griffiths says early indications are that taxpayers who have travel allowances, make tax deductible donations, or who have medical expenses over and above those that are reflected on their medical scheme certificates, should definitely not accept the auto-assessments. 

Can you correct your return after you accept the auto-assessment?

Yes, you can.

If you accept the auto-assessment then realise you omitted to claim a deduction, you can use the “Request Correction” facility on efiling or the MobiApp and resubmit the return with the full information. 

Will Sars know if I do not declare some income or provide false information?

If your auto-assessment does not include some income you have earned, you may think that accepting it means Sars is unlikely to find out about that income. The Income Tax Act makes it very clear that the burden of a full declaration is on you.

The wheels of Sars turn slowly, but thoroughly, it some cases it overturns 😥.  So do not think you can hide income from SARS.

More than 11% of the returns submitted are being subjected to an audit. This is where Sars requests documents to prove your claims. Kieswetter says Sars has significantly stepped up its ability to detect fraud, so you should not expect to get away with putting in any false deductions or under-declaring your income.The revenue service uses a broad variety of data from financial institutions, the vehicle register, population register, companies register and other asset registers, and is increasingly broadening these sources of data to ensure it gets the right amount of tax from you, he says. Sars also gets information about South Africans who have money offshore through an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development programme, he says.

Make sure to Get your IRP5 from your employer or check your return for information related to your employment

If your employer has not filed your salary information with Sars, this may hold your return up. Only 57% of employers have filed salary information with SARS. If your Employer has not done so, your auto assessment will be incorrect.

When does my return have to filed or assessment accepted?

Ordinary taxpayers will have until November 16 to e-File their returns, while provisional taxpayers will have until January 31 2021. 

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