Many of us dread completing our tax returns. Not only does it seem like complicated admin, we’re also afraid that we’ll owe SARS money that we don’t necessarily have. It is however easier than you think, and you can plan for potential tax payments by allocating a small amount each month in your budget. So if you still need to submit your tax return, then read on!
#MoneyMonday – short to-the-point money thought every Monday to give you motivation, perspective or action for the week.
Do I need to submit a tax return?
Every year, SARS releases guidelines on their website for people unsure about whether or not they need to submit a return. It’s been polished up over the years, so now works like a decent tool that helps you figure it out. You can try out the SARS tool here.
Here are the “general” guidelines but note that this is just a quick summary.
You do not need to submit a return if you earned less than R500,000 for the tax year and if all of the criteria below apply to you (assuming you are younger than 65):
- your total employment income / salary for the year (March 2019 to February 2020) before tax (gross income) was not more than R500,000; and
- you only received employment income / salary for the full year of assessment from one employer; and
- you have no car allowance/company car/ travel allowance or other income (e.g. interest or rental income); and
- you are not claiming tax related deductions/rebates (e.g. medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions other than pension contributions made by your employer, travel); and
- you don’t hold any funds in foreign currency or assets outside South Africa that have a combined total value of more than R225 000 at any stage during the tax year.
I must submit tax return
Despite what you may feel about submitting your tax return and paying taxes, it’s something that must be done. The consequences of doing doing it, or not being fully honest, are quite severe. At very least you could have a fine or penalty applied, but it could escalate. If you need to submit a tax return, then you have no choice other that to just do it!
One option is to do it yourself as it really is not that complicated. Most of us have relatively simple finances and the SARS e-filing is easy enough to use. You will need to create an account on the SARS e-filing page and then log in. If your tax submissions are up to date you will simply need to open the current return and complete the “wizard” on the first page which will then generate then rest of the form based on your answers.
Note: I am aware of security issues on the SARS site and am not sure what the current solution is should you not wish to use it, or are unable to.
If you earn a fixed salary, pay medical aid and pension / provided fund through your companies HR and don’t have a car allowance, foreign investments, a business, etc then things should be very simple. However, even with a more complex situation you should be able to complete the return yourself although it does depend on complexities and your financial skills.
Read this for more on SARS Medical Tax Credits
Act now and complete your tax return as soon as possible. Get it out of the way and off your mind!