How-to guide for e-Filing launched to boost tax returns

With the deadline for submitting a tax return looming, many South Africans are still uncertain about how to file a tax return.

November 14, 2013

With the deadline for submitting a tax return looming, many South Africans are still uncertain about how to file a tax return. Figures from the South African Revenue Services (SARS) suggest that the number of registered taxpayers for the 2012/2013 tax year was around 13.7 million, yet only 5.6 million tax returns were filed last year.

To date only 3.8 million tax returns have been submitted for the 2013 tax filing season, leaving a shortfall of nearly 1.8 million submissions in order to match the number of returns filed last year. It is highly likely that South Africans are leaving the submission of their tax returns to the last minute and this figure will grow in the next week as the deadline for tax approaches.

In 2012, 99.86% of tax returns were filed electronically which shows a very strong adoption to the e-Filing method, but further actions need to be taken to ensure that the number of returns filed last year are met and exceeded this year.

Recognising the appetite for the e-Filing method of tax return submission, financial services specialists, Direct Axis has compiled an Income Tax Guide to assist South Africans with their income tax returns. The guide can be downloaded from the Direct Axis website at https://www.directaxis.co.za/topics-tips-tools/tax-guide

The guide will serve to help people understand the intricacies of filing a tax return using the SARS e-Filing system and in so doing boost the number of returns filed this year.

Collecting tax is essential to the growth and development of the country. In order for Government to deliver basic services to South African citizens and improve the country’s infrastructure, revenue in the form of tax needs to be collected.

Filing tax returns is often seen as a daunting task to undertake by South Africans and more often than not, people tend to procrastinate until there is very little or no time left to submit a return. This places them at risk of facing repercussions in the form of penalties.

The Income Tax Guide puts the necessary processes into simple, easy to understand terms and includes light-hearted statistics to help educate South Africans on the seemingly boring and dry topic that tax is perceived to be.

Recent adjustments to the income tax threshold made by SARS may have resulted in confusion among many South Africans on their obligation to submit tax, particularly among young graduates entering the workplace for the first time. As part of the guide, a decision tree to help determine whether submitting a tax return is necessary has been included.

South African taxpayers who earn less than R250 000 per annum will no longer be required to file a tax return, depending on factors such as whether or not they only earned one salary from one employer, have no additional forms of income, no claims for medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions or travel expenses.

The deadline for taxpayers to submit returns is 22 November and South Africans are urged to file their returns before it is too late. Filing tax returns should not be a daunting and time consuming task. By using the Income Tax Guide, South Africans will be able to have a better understanding of tax, be better equipped to file their returns ahead of the looming deadlines and avoid any penalties which may result from non-submission