Tax Season 2017 Now Open

By Janice Roberts

Tax Season 2017 officially opened on Saturday, 1 July 2017 for eFilers, and today for branch filers. Taxpayers can now commence completing and submitting their 2017 personal income tax returns for the 2016/17 tax year.

“Tax Season is the single biggest annual engagement between ordinary citizens and SARS. Last year during Tax Season, SARS received 6.31 million income tax returns. Tax Season is an opportunity for taxpayers to reconcile their personal income and tax-related deductions with SARS. This allows SARS to assess if there were any factors that were not accounted for over the tax year, thus ensuring that the taxpayer is compliant,” SARS said in a statement today.

For the bulk of personal income taxpayers, July to November is the period to complete and submit their tax returns. Over the past few years, SARS “has tried to make the process even easier for those wanting to comply and ‘pay their fair share’. The user-friendly eFiling system, Contact Centre, mobile tax units which visit remote areas, helpful services such as Help-You-eFile, the Contact Centre call-back facility and our friendly staff at our branches have all contributed to improving taxpayer engagement with SARS.”

To ensure that taxpayers are prepared, below is some helpful information from SARS to make Tax Season even easier.

Not everyone needs to file an income tax return. Taxpayers do not have to submit an income tax return if:

  • Their total salary for the year before tax is not more than R350 000
  • They only receive employment income from one employer for the full year of assessment
  • They have no other form of income such as car allowance, business income, taxable interest, rent or income from another job
  • They don’t have any additional allowable tax deductions to claim such as medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions and travel expenses.

Avoid disappointment and ensure that you have all your documents ready:

  • Proof of income such as:
    • IRP5/IT3(a) from your employer or pension fund
    • Tax certificates for investment income IT3(b)
    • Tax Free Investments certificate(s) IT3(s)
    • Financial statements (e.g. for business income), etc.
  • Proof of deductions such as:
    • Medical aid contribution certificates and receipts
    • Completed confirmation of diagnosis of disability form (ITR-DD) if you want to claim any disability expenses
    • Retirement annuity contribution certificates
    • Information relating to foreign tax credits withheld
    • Travel logbook (if you receive a travel allowance or use a company car), etc.
  • Proof of identity: ID, passport or driving licence if you visit a branch to submit your return.

Medical deductions 

Check if the information on your medical aid contribution certificate is correct. If not, contact your medical aid scheme to correct it before you file your tax return.

If your employer paid your medical scheme contributions to your medical scheme on your behalf, the amount will appear on your IRP5/IT(3)a certificate but SARS will not use this amount in calculating your assessment. You must complete the medical expenses section on your ITR12 using the information on your medical scheme tax certificate.

Medical expenditure not covered by a medical scheme that is reflected on the relevant medical scheme tax certificate must be completed in the field next to the code 4020.

Qualifying medical out-of-pocket expenses which are not reflected on any medical scheme certificate and that were not claimed from a medical scheme should be indicated next to code 4034.

Disability claims

If a taxpayer, their spouse or qualifying children have been diagnosed with a disability by a duly registered medical practitioner and they want to claim deductions, they have to provide the following information:

  • The date of birth of the qualifying person(s)
  • The severity of the disability as per the ITR-DD
  • The date when the most recent Confirmation of Diagnosis of Disability (ITR-DD) certificate was completed
  • The medical practice number of the medical practitioner who completed the ITR-DD
  • Where there is more than one person with a disability, detailed information per person is required.

Retirement Annuity Fund Contributions

If you want to claim deductions for retirement annuity contributions you made, you must provide the individual policy number(s) and the name(s) of the insurer(s) or fund(s) of each.

Making it easy for taxpayers to file their returns

SARS said it will continue to strive towards providing the best services possible to taxpayers during Tax Season. Taxpayers are encouraged to use SARS eFiling to submit their tax returns as it is the quickest and easiest way to submit a return and is available 24 hours.

eFilers requiring assistance can make use of the free Help-You-eFile service by simply clicking on  the Help-You-eFile icon on eFiling and following the prompts to get access to a friendly SARS Contact Centre agent who will help them every step of the way while eFiling. This service is available during office hours.

“The ever-increasing SARS footprint now extends to 53 branches nationwide, 21 Mobile Tax Units that service taxpayers in remote areas of the country and increased efficiency at the SARS Contact Centre. Our contact centre will be open from 08:00 to 18:00 during July 2017.”

Beware of scams

SARS warned taxpayers not to fall victim to tax identity fraud.

“They need to protect their taxpayer information, login name and password at all times.

“SARS will never request a taxpayer’s banking details or personal details in any correspondence that they receive via post, email or SMS. SARS will not send them correspondence with hyperlinks to other websites – even those of banks.”

Taxpayers who are concerned about emails or SMS messages claiming to be from SARS should:

  • Visit the Scams and Phishing webpage
  • Email [email protected]
  • Call the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 00 2870
  • Call the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277.


Taxpayers are urged to complete their returns on time. Non-provisional taxpayers who eFile or submit their returns electronically at a SARS branch have until 24 November 2017 to file. Provisional taxpayers who eFile, have until 31 January 2018 to submit their returns.

Manual submissions through the post or at SARS drop boxes must be made by 22 September 2017.

Visit SAR’s Tax Season 2017 webpage for more information on these changes.

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