JOHANNESBURG – Time is running out for non-provisional taxpayers to submit their tax returns.
This category of taxpayers, which includes the majority of employed individuals, has until Friday (November 21) to file their tax returns electronically.
Provisional taxpayers (those individuals who have additional sources of income like investments, rental income or royalties) who submit returns via eFiling have until January 30 next year to submit.
The deadline for taxpayers who submit their returns manually lapsed on September 26.
According to data supplied by the South African Revenue Service (Sars), more than 3.8 million individual tax returns were received by Tuesday morning. The vast majority of these were completed via eFiling or electronically at a Sars branch.
Just 3 929 physical paper returns have been submitted to date.
Roughly 80% of refunds were paid within 72 hours.
Marika Muller, deputy spokesperson for Sars, says at this stage the revenue authority is not quantifying refunds paid.
Individuals who earned less than R250 000 during the tax year from one employer, who do not have a car allowance, who do not earn any other income like interest or rental income and who do not wish to claim deductions for medical expenses, travel or retirement annuities do not have to submit a tax return.
Taxpayers who make use of a tax practitioner should ensure that the practitioner is registered with one of the 11 recognised controlling bodies in addition to being registered with Sars.
At the start of filing season on July 1, Sars highlighted that it improved its ability to verify taxpayer information through third party data (for example banks, medical aids or pension funds).
“We advise 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,” it said at the time.
The current filing season is the last time a tax deduction for qualifying medical expenses will be available. From next year, this deduction will be replaced by a medical tax credit similar to the one already in force for medical aid contributions for taxpayers below the age of 65.
Sars will likely come under increasing pressure to upscale its tax collecting efforts amid concern about South Africa’s budget deficit. Economic growth is expected to slow to 1.4% this year, which suggests that tax revenue growth will be muted.
Speculation has been rife that tax increases could be introduced next year.
During his medium-term budget policy statement finance minister Nhlanhla Nene said that while government has relied mainly on containing expenditure growth thus far, revenue measures will also come into consideration in the period ahead.
Although Nene did not want to be drawn on speculation around tax hikes, he said if government wanted to avoid reducing expenditure in real terms about
R15 billion a year in additional revenue would have to be raised.
But revenue measures will be designed to limit any negative impact on growth and job creation as far as possible, he said.