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Sars irons out glitches with new income tax return

Taxpayers who have submitted with errors could experience delays in refunds.

Taxpayers and their advisors are struggling with some of the changes to the new tax returns and described it as less user-friendly as anticipated.

It seems as is if the design of the form is confusing and some technical glitches have been experienced since the start of the 2017 filing season.

According to the South African Institute of Tax Professionals (Sait) the medical and retirement annuity sections on the income tax return form have changed “significantly”.

Sait tax technical operations manager Chérie Carstens-Petersen says the guide to complete the new return was only published after the filing season started.

She says with change comes uncertainty and resistance. “Taxpayers were not used to having to complete their policy details for each retirement annuity.”

The new section requires that each policy should be completed separately (name of fund, policy number, contributions made to that particular fund).

“The red herring is that the additional details section, where you complete each policy, comes after the block for the tax code, so people were missing it. Only when they tried saving or submitting did they receive an error message.”

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) has acknowledged that there were some glitches with both the new requirements relating to medical aid contributions and retirement annuity fund contributions.

Sars says it may confuse taxpayers that they first need to complete the “total contributions for this year of assessment” field before they complete the details for each of their policies.

Sars explains the taxpayer must complete all the “Details of Policy(ies)” information for each of their retirement annuities, and then add all the “Contributions made to this policy” amounts together. The total amount must be filled in next to “Total contributions for this year of assessment” (tax code 4006) at the top of the section which reads “Retirement Annuity Fund Contributions”.

The glitches relating to the capturing of medical deductions information has, according to Sars, been corrected.

“In some instances, the medical scheme’s name has been pre-populated with the medical scheme administrators name instead.”

This means where an administrator submits the medical data on behalf of the medical scheme, the administrator’s name appears (as opposed to the name of the actual fund).”

Sars says it has been corrected. The reason behind this is “purely for information purposes” on Sars’s side in order to identify the scheme.

It has no bearing on the taxpayer’s tax assessment.

Sars also says there have been instances where the number of dependents per month reflected incorrectly on the income tax return. This has also since been corrected.

Cartens-Petersen says taxpayers who have already submitted their returns with the errors will need to object to any incorrect assessments.

“This clogs up the system and further delays any refunds due to the taxpayer. Sadly, another consequence of these issues is that the taxpayer and practitioners lose trust in the system.”

She suggests that Sars open filing season a day or two earlier to their own staff or the recognised controlling bodies (such as Sait) to test the form properly when there are significant changes.

“That way, any major hiccups will be spotted before it affects the greater population.”

Sars says the glitches have only affected a limited number of taxpayers who filed in the first week of tax season.

Taxpayers who are faced with incorrect assessments due to these glitches can either do a revised declaration, submit a dispute, or if they have only saved but not submitted, they can refresh the medical scheme specific section on the form.

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The section on medical deductions is indeed confusing and appears to have been compiled by someone with a limited understanding of the need to use clear English and correct grammar.

“State any medical expenses that WAS paid…”

Surely there must be someone at SARS with Matric English!!!

The end result is that many compliant and law-abiding taxpayers will be confused and then be given 21 days to submit potentially hundreds of pages of supporting documents to avoid being labelled a criminal and have legitimate medical expenses rejected for not meeting SARS mysterious requirements. This will almost certainly be a deliberate lie.

Last year SARS first lost delivered physical copies proving my medical expenses and then rejected all the second copies anyway when they were submitted personally by hand into the hands of an official at a desk in a branch. The rejection was disclosed in a nonsensical unsigned letter written later by a nitwit on behalf of the Commissioner.

It appears SARS is on the road to rejecting all claims for medical expenses in order to fund the absurd proposed national health scheme.

This year they will probably reject all copies of receipts because they are not signed. Does SARS need such a cunning plan!!! After all, they have a target to reach even though unemployment is at record levels, the number of individual taxpayers is static at best and thousands of businesses are struggling because SA is up to its eyeballs in corruption, theft and dishonesty.

Taxation is merely another form of theft. Don’t believe me? Just try not paying and see what happens.

Sars try their best to delay/refuse refunds to meet their targets. Used to be so well managed, but they’ve became a nightmare the last year.

If you donate to PBO’s and wish to claim, prepare for a dogfight. It took me a year to get my refunds. Their reasons for withholding the refund were schocking.

Arrogance personified! Accept our mistakes without apology and you suffer the consequences. Where I come from you first run tests before you release new procedures/systems.

The section you need to fill in for your TFSA account is a nightmare. You have to work out the “profit” on a tax free account. Why? Surely if it is tax free, the profit is not taxable. And what does profit even mean on a savings account. I can get interest and dividends which are separate items, but not profit dammit.

Someone with deep pockets needs to take these jokers to the Constitutional Court.

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