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As tax season kicks off, individuals and businesses are reminded of the importance of gathering all the necessary documentation, getting up to date with new compliance regulations and navigating the ever-changing rules set by the South African Revenue Service (SARS).  Tax laws and regulations undergo regular updates and it is essential to keep abreast of any changes that may impact your tax obligations.

SARS’ rules and guidelines are a key aspect of the tax season, and understanding and adhering to them is key.   “While complying with SARS’ guidelines may sometimes feel like a burden it really is necessary to avoid potential penalties or complications. Familiarising yourself with SARS’ requirements such as submission deadlines, payment due dates and specific fields for accurate income declaration, will help ensure a smooth tax filing process,” advises Danielle Luwes, Tax Manager at tax specialist firm, Hobbs Sinclair.

The tax submission deadlines for the 2023 tax season are as follows:

  1. Non-provisional taxpayers filing via the eFiling platform or manually:
    • Opening: 7 July 2023 @ 8pm
    • Closing: 23 October 2023
  2. Provisional taxpayers filing electronically:
    • Opening: 7 July 2023
    • Closing: 24 January 2024
  3. Provisional Trusts and other juristic persons (such as boards or bodies):
    • Opening: 7 July 2023 @ 8pm
    • Closing: 24 January 2024
  4. Company tax returns: 12 months from year-end

Payment due dates for non-provisional eFilers have been adjusted as follows:

  1. Taxpayers who are not in the auto-assessment population: Payment is due 30 days after a notice of assessment has been issued.
  2. Taxpayers who are auto-assessed: Payment is due 30 days after the filing season 2023 closing date.

With regards to auto assessments, you must notify your tax advisor immediately if SARS issues an auto assessment.  “If any corrections are necessary, it is essential to submit a request for correction within the stipulated 40 business days timeframe. Failure to do so may result in the auto assessment becoming final,” adds Luwes.

Notable amendments to SARS requirements include:

  1. Statement of assets and liabilities: Provisional taxpayers with business interests must declare their assets and liabilities based on cost. Taxpayers falling into this category with assets exceeding R50 million are required to declare specified assets at market values on their 2023 tax returns.
  2. Foreign income disclosure: SARS has introduced a foreign income container on the return. Notably, three new fields have been included to accurately declare foreign employment services income subject to tax outside South Africa.
  3. Spouses married in Community of Property assessment: For taxpayers married in community of property, half of their interest, dividends, rental income and capital gains are subject to taxation. SARS has collaborated with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm marital status and retrieve the “Married in Community of Property” status from previous declarations. In cases where both spouses are successfully matched and have interest investments, SARS will replicate the interest investment certificate on both spouses’ returns, ensuring a fair assessment of 50% taxation.

Luwes emphasises the importance of adhering to these deadlines and regulations, stating, “It is essential for taxpayers to be aware of the submission deadlines to ensure timely and accurate filing of their tax returns.  Failure to comply with these deadlines may result in penalties imposed by SARS.”

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