With the official launch of the Tax season on 01 July 2013, taxpayers once again need to file their tax returns within the SARS deadlines if they are to avoid fines or penalties.

Manual returns must be posted or delivered to local SARS branches by 27 September 2013 while non-provisional taxpayers may use SARS eFiling until 22 November 2013. Provisional taxpayers have more time and may submit electronic returns via eFiling until 31 January 2014.

Philip Meyer, technology director of Sage Pastel Payroll & HR, encourages taxpayers to start getting their tax documentation into order as soon as possible.

“They should start gathering proof of contributions to Retirement Annuities or private pensions and medical schemes, investment income, dividends and lump sum payments as the earlier the return can be finalised and submitted, the better. Rather be well prepared and avoid the stress that accompanies the last-minute rush.”

Taxpayers receiving remuneration of less than R250 000 may choose to not submit an income tax return. However, they need to meet the following criteria: their remuneration must be from a single employer and for a full year of assessment (1 March 2012 to 28 February 2013), no allowance was paid from which employees’ tax was not fully deducted and no further deductions need to be claimed or income declared.

SARS announces its tax season every year and it is during this period that individuals must submit their annual return.

On Monday (01 July 2013) the individual tax filing season was launched by SARS and on the first day,  the SARS eFiling website struggled to handle the volumes of eFilers logging in to file tax returns.

“Thousands of returns were filed on Monday and the volume may have caught SARS by surprise. Traditionally, taxpayers prefer to wait until the last few days of the filing season to get their tax returns done and this is normally the time we expect the eFiling website to start stumbling under the pressure,” said Meyer.

SARS has acknowledged via their website that they are aware of the technical difficulties being experienced by eFiling and that their technicians and service providers are investigating the network issues.

If you want to confirm whether you are one of the individuals exempt from filing this year, access the following link from the SARS website, http://bit.ly/15a37Gp

SARS has adopted a more user-friendly approach and has published a Tax Season 2013 electronic guide that can be easily accessed on the SARS website www.sars.gov.za enabling an electronic version to be quickly downloaded.

Taxpayers are being offered SARS assistance with their returns through a number of channels to ensure that tax returns are submitted accurately and on time with minimal effort. A Help-You-eFile service has also been launched by SARS.

“The Help-You-eFile service provides taxpayers with access to contact the call centre agents while the taxpayer is online. Agents are able to see what taxpayers are doing and can assist with the completion of the tax return,” says Meyer.

SARS also caters for mobile technology, enabling individuals with mobile devices to file their returns from their smartphones and tablets.

“Taxpayers will also be able to view eFiling videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to register for eFiling, complete and submit the IRT12 tax form, accompanied by supporting documents if these are required. SARS has said that eFilers will receive their ITA34 assessment and statement of account within a few minutes of submitting the return.”

Finally, taxpayers who may have forgotten their eFiling login or password will be able to request their login name and reset their password.

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