SARS takes another step to improve service to taxpayers

By Janice Roberts
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has improved online filing and filing at a SARS branch with several innovations for Tax Season 2019 to make it simpler and more convenient for taxpayers to file an income tax return.

The innovations also include the issuing of customised notices indicating specific documents required in the event of an audit or verification and a simulated outcome issued before a taxpayer has filed.
“The objectives that drive these changes are improved service delivery, increased conversion to online channels such as eFiling and the SARS MobiApp for simple income tax returns (which excludes provisional tax returns), as well as improving our ability to detect non-compliance,” SARS says.
The revamped SARS MobiApp will make it even easier than before to use a smart phone to file a simple income tax return because of the following new and convenient features:
• simpler navigation
• the introduction of biometric authentication
• a one-time pin as an added security feature
• the ability to reset username and password
• security questions
• and the scanning and uploading of supporting documents.
The other online platform, eFiling, has been improved to make it easier to navigate and perform the functions necessary to file a return, submit supporting documents and make a payment as well as improved browser compatibility.
SARS says that this year taxpayers who meet ALL of the following criteria need NOT submit a tax return:
Their total employment income for the year before tax is not more than R500 000
• They only receive employment income from ONE EMPLOYER for the full tax year.
• They have no other form of INCOME (e.g. car allowance, business income, and rental income, taxable interest or income from another job)
• They don’t have any additional allowable tax related deductions to claim (e.g. medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions and travel expenses).
To further reduce unnecessary trips to SARS branches, taxpayers who are not required to file a return will receive a simulated outcome from SARS as if they had filed a return. The taxpayer can accept this outcome or update the return and file. Tax Season 2019 starts on 1 August for taxpayers who file their income tax returns at a SARS branch.
However, taxpayers who go to a SARS branch will be encouraged to register as users of eFiling and the MobiApp. “Once they are registered for these two online channels our staff will demonstrate how to use these online channels to file a simple income tax return,” SARS adds. SARS branches will provide wi-fi for taxpayers to use eFiling or the MobiApp in our branches.
Taxpayers who are registered for eFiling or have access to the MobiApp can file their income tax returns from 1 July via these channels.
The closing dates for Tax Season are as follows:
31 October 2019 for branch filing.
4 December 2019 for non-provisional taxpayers who use eFiling and the MobiApp.
31 January 2020 for provisional taxpayers who use eFiling.
“SARS thanks all taxpayers who comply with their tax obligations. We remain committed to continue the important work that ensures a high level of tax morality and a culture of voluntary compliance. We will empower the taxpayer with important information:
– To understand their tax paying obligations,
– To make it easier to comply, and
– When required, allows SARS to act decisively and enforce compliance
“In partnership with all role-players, SARS will continue to serve the higher purpose of enabling and building a capable, democratic state that fosters sustainable economic growth and social development in the interest and wellbeing of all South Africans.”
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