The simple word ‘tax’ can often send people into a tizz. Some ignore the submission deadlines and hope the problem will go away ‒ others try to be compliant, but feel overwhelmed by paperwork and complicated jargon.
However, it’s easier than you think to avoid those 2am sweats. The handy hints below will help you stay in line with the latest changes in tax rules, so you can be a responsible citizen and possibly unlock some hard-earned cash.
The 2019 tax year refers to 1 March 2018 – 28 February 2019 and you should take note of the following updates in requirements, according to personal finance education website Justmoney.
- Doing your tax online has been made easier: There have been innovations in South African Revenue Services (SARS) eFiling and the MobiApp, making it simpler to register and navigate. If you are planning to use eFiling for the first time, go ahead and register now with SARS eFiling.
- You’ve got more time to file online: As a regular taxpayer using SARS digital channels, you have until 4 December 2019 to submit your return. Provisional taxpayers, on the other hand, have until 31 January 2020 via eFiling. You’re a provisional taxpayer if you earn income other than a salary ‒ for example rent, or income from investments.
- You’ve got a shorter submissions gap for manual filing: If you prefer to hand in your file at a SARS branch, you can do so from 1 August to 31 October 2019.
- The amount you must earn per year before it becomes compulsory to pay tax has increased slightly: In 2018 you had to earn more than R75 750, for 2019 it’s more than R78 150.
- You might not have to submit a tax form at all if you meet certain criteria: Your total employment income for the year before tax must not be more than R500 000, and you must have been paid by only one employer for the full year. There must beno other income (such as rent, a car allowance or freelancing). Finally, you must not have any additional, allowable tax-related deductions to claim (such as medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions or travel expenses).
- It could still be advisable to file a form: You might have overpaid on tax and be due for a refund, for example by claiming medical bills. To get this money back, you need to file a return. Down the line, it also helps to have a continuous and detailed filing record.
- If you work overseas, you might want to renegotiate your package, stop working abroad, or consider other options: If you’re a South African resident living overseas for 183 full days and more during any 12-month period and earning an income, you are currently not paying tax to SARS. But from 1 March 2020, only the first R1 million that you earn from working abroad will be tax-exempt. Consulting a professional tax advisor would be a wise move.
To find out more about current tax rules, see Recent tax changes