The South African Revenue Services (SARS) has announced that the 2020 Filing Season will begin on 1 August 2020.
In a statement issued on Thursday, SARS said on the day, a significant number of taxpayers can expect to receive an SMS indicating that SARS has prepared their tax returns on their behalf and that a draft assessment is available on eFiling or Mobiapp to consider.
With this year’s filing season coinciding with the economy-damaging COVID-19 pandemic, SARS has conceded this will detrimentally affect collection rates.
Amid the pandemic, SARS said it continues to play its critical revenue collection role to ensure that government continues to fund health workers, frontline staff and public servants.
“Our country has faced the unprecedented demand for personal protective equipment, medical supplies, food and other financial relief to the poorest and most vulnerable among us, as well as the tax measures meant to provide relief to businesses in distress and save as many jobs as possible,” SARS said.
The revenue collector has also continued to pay refunds to companies and individuals to help them cope with their financial woes.
The first phase of Filing Season 2020 was allocated to employers and other third-party data providers like medical schemes, retirement annuity funds and banks.
During this phase, these third-party data providers had to file their data to SARS on or before 31 May 2020. The majority did so successfully, but there are those who failed in their duty, making it difficult for SARS to assess their employees and other taxpayers affected by this non-compliance.
The next phase has now commenced, during which SARS will be validating third-party data, and following up on employers and others who failed in their duty to file their data to SARS on time.
“For those that accept the draft assessment, there will be no need to complete and file a tax return, and if a refund is due, the refund will follow within the first week of August. We refer to this as the ‘auto-assessment’ process,” said the revenue collector.
A taxpayer will be eligible for auto-assessment if their respective third-party data providers have filed all third-party data in respect of that taxpayer.
Taxpayers who, for example, have not yet received their IPR5 certificates, are advised to immediately approach their employers and insist that the IPR5s are issued to them.
During August, taxpayers, who have not yet been auto-assessed but in respect of whom a complete set of third-party data has subsequently become available, will be invited by SARS to file early.
The next phase of the filing season 2020 starts on 1 September 2020. In this stage, taxpayers who have not been auto-assessed, or who have not accepted an auto-assessment, can then start to file via eFiling or MobiApp.
SARS said taxpayers who cannot file through any of its digital platforms will be permitted to visit a SARS branch by appointment only.
SARS encouraged taxpayers to continue to use the ever-evolving digital channels in order to transact with SARS.
SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said: “During the time when our country is still battling the scourge of COVID-19, we hope taxpayers will take advantage of these innovations aimed at making it easier and faster for taxpayers to comply with their tax obligations.”