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South Africa Opens 2015 Tax Filing Season

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

02 July 2015

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) launched its 2015 tax filing season on July 1.

The agency expects to receive about 4.5m returns this filing season, down 850,000 compared with last year, due mainly to the increase in the individual income tax exempt threshold. Those taxpayers whose total salary for the year before tax was below ZAR350,000 (USD28,600) may not need to complete a tax return. The threshold was ZAR250,000 last year.

In order to be exempt from the filing requirement, taxpayers whose income is below the threshold must have only received employment income from one employer for the full year of assessment; have no other form of income, such as car allowance, business income, taxable interest or rent; and have no additional tax deductions to claim, such as medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions, or travel expenses.

SARS confirmed that it has further improved its ability to verify taxpayer information through third party data. It has advised taxpayers that SARS will, in particular, focus on medical aid claims, retirement fund contributions, income protection policy contributions, and taxpayers who submit revised returns for previous years. Incorrect information could result in audits and penalties being applied.

Taxpayers are again encouraged to use SARS eFiling as the quickest and easiest way to submit a tax return. eFilers can now also file their returns via the SARS eFiling App for submission via a smart phone or tablet.

The deadline for individual taxpayers who submit their tax returns manually by post or by dropping them off in a SARS drop box is September 30, 2015. The deadline for all non-provisional and provisional taxpayers who submit returns via eFiling is November 27, 2015, and January 29, 2016, respectively.

Non-provisional taxpayers are those employed individuals who submit a tax return and who earn an income from one or more employer. Provisional taxpayers form a much smaller segment of the tax base and are those individuals with other forms of income, such as investment income, income from business activities, rent, royalties, or directors' income.

TAGS: individuals | South Africa | compliance | tax | tax compliance | tax authority | individual income tax | Africa | Tax

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