2020 Tax filing season due to COVID-19

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June 18, 2020
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On 5 May 2020, SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter announced key changes to the upcoming tax filing season for personal taxes, which will comprise three phases.

Phase one – Employer filing (15 April 2020 – 31 May 2020)

It was noted that employers’ compliance with payroll taxes (PAYE) would be of vital importance and that there would be a renewed focus at SARS to ensure that all employers are fully compliant in terms of their filing and payment obligations. Employers, along with other providers of third-party information, have the responsibility to ensure that they are fully compliant in terms of their filing and payment obligations by the end of May 2020.

Phase two – Tax file updates (1 June 2020 – 31 August 2020)

  1. Taxpayers are requested to engage with SARS to ensure that their registered particulars are up to date. This includes banking details and address changes.
  2. During this phase, a significant number of taxpayers will receive auto-assessments and will be given an opportunity to confirm their acceptance of the assessment outcome according to SARS.
  3. Individuals who are not required to file tax returns, as well as individuals who are required to file during phase three, will be informed during phase two.

As your tax practitioner, we have access to these registered particulars, and we invite our clients to engage with us to confirm that your current details are reflected on the SARS system. We also invite our clients who receive an auto-assessment to forward them to tax@asl.co.za to enable us to confirm whether the auto-assessment is correct and should be accepted or declined.

To follow a pro-active approach with the submission of your 2020 income tax return, we kindly request that our clients send us a copy of their IRP5 documents as soon as they are received from their employers.

Phase three – Employee filing (1 September – 31 January 2021)

  1. Non-provisional taxpayers and individuals who have not accepted the outcome of an auto-assessment are required to file tax returns from 1 September through to 16 November 2020.
  2. Non-provisional taxpayers who make use of the SARS branch facilities have until 22 October 2020 to file their tax returns.
  3. Provisional taxpayers who do not accept the outcome of an auto-assessment are required to file their tax returns when they are ready, but by no later than 31 January 2021.

Companies and close corporations are not subject to the above-mentioned deadlines. Such entities are required to submit their income tax returns 12 months after year-end.

Note that not all individuals are required to submit an income tax return. For example, natural persons are exempted from having to submit a tax return if the only income earned was in the form of a salary from a single employer during the year (not exceeding R350 000) and income from interest for that person was also less than R23 800 (or R34 500 if the person is older than 65). These exempted individuals may, however, still wish to submit a return in order to benefit from tax deductions, which may need to be claimed on the return to be filed.

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