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SARS urges taxpayers to file for 2023 returns

Individual Filing Season now open for the next 109 days.

Individual Filing Season is here once again. Individuals who are employed and/or self-employed must submit or file their tax returns between 7 July and 23 October 2023.

In this article, we aim to provide clarity and certainty to assist taxpayers with the necessary guidelines to ensure that they are compliant.

SARS has committed to continuously modernise its systems to provide a seamless online digital experience with a variety of digital channels for various purposes.

Our free USSD channel offers taxpayers a service to check if they are required to file an annual Income Tax Return (ITR12) for the 2022/2023 tax year by dialling *134*7277# on their cellphone and selecting Option 3.

Taxpayers who were auto-assessed were notified between 1 and 7 July 2023 by either SMS or email of their auto-assessment. Should a taxpayer have received a notification that they were auto-assessed, they need to review the auto-assessment on the SARS MobiApp or eFiling. If they agree with the auto-assessment, they do not have to do anything else. SARS has done it all for you.

If, however, they do not agree with the auto-assessment, they have until 23 October 2023 to amend and file their return.

Taxpayers who are not auto-assessed

Taxpayers who were not auto-assessed must submit their Annual Income Tax Returns (ITR12) as usual. Taxpayers can access their tax return via eFiling or SARS MobiApp, complete or amend the return, and submit. Taxpayers must declare all income received and claim expenses correctly. Please refer to the following guidelines:

  1. Investment Income Declaration

Interest on investment income will be subjected to tax and must be declared on the ITR12 return.

  1. Local and Foreign interest

Local interest received on investment income will be pre-populated with Third Party data on their ITR12 return. Foreign investment income received must be captured manually on the return.

  1. Commission Income

If a taxpayer’s commission income is more than 50% of their total remuneration, they can claim expenses incurred in the process of earning the income, excluding expenses of a capital or personal nature.

Top Tip: Taxpayers should declare any additional income earned e.g. rental income etc. to avoid penalties.

  1. Medical Aid Expenditure

For medical expenditure, the medical section of the ITR12 return should be completed as follows:

  • Declare any additional expenses incurred and not covered by the medical aid.
  • Declare medical and any other expenditure incurred for people living with a disability.
  • Declare contributions towards a medical aid scheme on behalf of other beneficiaries.

Top Tip: The ITRDD form (confirming disabilities) is available on the SARS website (www.sars.gov.za) and is to be completed by a Medical Practitioner confirming the disability.

  1. Travel Expenses

Taxpayers that receive a travel allowance from an employer or principal, can claim a deduction for the use of their private motor vehicle for business purposes provided they have kept a valid logbook.

Top Tip: Travel between home and the usual place of work cannot be claimed for business purposes, as this is regarded as private travel.

  1. Home Office Expenses

Taxpayers are allowed to claim home office expenses when they submit their tax returns, provided they meet the requirements as set out in the Income Tax Act, including the provisions laid out in section 11(a), read in conjunction with sections 23(b) and 23(m).

Top Tip: A confirmation letter from the employer and any additional information may be required for audit purposes to substantiate the claim.

This is the time to take control of your personal tax matters by filing your tax return before the deadline of October 23 and ensuring that you are compliant.

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