Tax Season 2018 Initiatives

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The Greatest Love of All: The Whitney Houston Show @ Emperors Palace Casino, 21 June – 8 July 2018

SARS have identified the following initiatives to support their approach.

A shorter filing season

· Tax Season 2018 will be shortened by three weeks, running from 1 July to 31 October 2018

· This impacts all individual non-provisional taxpayers

· This deadline also applies to provisional taxpayers who opt to file at a branch.

· Provisional taxpayers who use eFiling have until 31 January 2019 to file.

· The deadline for manual submissions is 21 September.


A shorter filing season allows additional time for SARS, taxpayers and the tax fraternity to deal with return verifications before most taxpayers go on the December holiday break. Often there are delays with taxpayers having to respond to our queries and requests over the holiday break.

The quiet period after the first three months of tax season has now been removed resulting in efficient use of our resources.

Public Engagement:

A draft Public Notice was issued on 9 May to this effect.

They have engaged tax practitioner bodies on the shorter deadline and cited reasons which were deliberated and later accepted.

The comment period closed on 23 May, with a dozen comments received. Several comments cited increased workload for tax practitioners while other comments proposed bringing forward the opening of tax season to match the earlier close.

This is a work in progress and they will refine these enhancements every year, considering the feedback they received from our stakeholders.

Other initiatives:

SARS have sent personalised and direct communication to taxpayers who may not have to submit a return, based on information submitted during tax season 2017, setting out their specific tax obligations.

A taxpayer does not need to submit a return if ALL the following criteria apply:

The taxpayer’s total employment income / salary for the year of assessment(March 2017 to February 2018) before tax was no more than R350 000

Employment income / salary for the year of assessment was received from one employer

The taxpayer has no other form of income (e.g. car allowance, company car fringe benefit, business income, taxable interest or rental income or income from another job)

The taxpayer does not want to claim for any additional allowable tax related deductions or rebates (e.g. medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions, travel expenses, etc.).

Verification letters will be more specific in terms of the supporting documents that we require from taxpayers who may have been flagged for a specific risk. This will assist the taxpayer to respond timeously and accurately.

Taxpayers will be encouraged to file via eFiling on their own. We will support eFilers with the Help-You-eFile service which connects the taxpayer to one of our tax agents in real time via the contact centre while both are online. The taxpayer is then assisted each step of the way.

Tax returns for the current year of assessment will take priority over outstanding returns filed for prior years. Unfortunately, experience has shown that the submission of prior year returns poses a risk to taxpayers that are taken in by scammers and other tax fraud that we have detected.

Where an assessment on one return may reflect a refund due, there may be instances where prior returns may reflect that the taxpayer needs to make a payment. These amounts will be offset against each other and the taxpayer will be notified of the outcome.

· SARS is continuing to refine its risk engine to specifically limit repeat audit cases where no risk was found in previous years.

· This year SARS is running a pilot in the background to auto assess taxpayers with a view in future years of issuing assessments to taxpayers who need not submit returns

· While not directly linked to the filing season for individuals, we are seeking to reduce the burden of filing other returns by this year not requiring tax returns for companies that are dormant and have no assets.

· Tax practitioners will be requested to strictly use eFiling for submitting taxpayer returns and avoid doing so at a branch.

· Administrative penalties for late submissions will be imposed, as they have been in previous years.