be prepared for tax time

It's tax time!

Posted  July 21, 2014

Tax filing season officially opened this month and if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to gather the required documentation to ensure your tax return is filed timeously.

If you are still submitting a paper tax return to the SARS offices, then you have until Friday, 26 September to return it. If you have switched to the increasingly popular e-filing, the deadline is extended to Friday, 21 November. And if you are a provisional tax-payer (you receive income from more than one employer), your tax filing deadline is Friday, 30 January. Note that you also fall under the provisional taxpayer bracket if you earn rental income in addition to your primary income.

This is what you need:

IRP5Your employer has to issue you with an IRP5 tax document each year. If you have lost yours, contact the HR department at your company to request a duplicate.

InvestmentsIf you have investments such as unit trusts, fixed deposit savings or retirement annuities, the relevant investment company will send you a tax certificate each year. The certificate shows how much interest you have earned for the year as well as any capital gains profit that you made if you sold an investment. This is important because you pay tax on the interest earned and capital gains over a certain threshold. If you are under 65, the first R23 800 you earn in interest is tax-free. If you are over 65, the tax-free interest you can earn increases to R34 500. You do not pay any tax on the first R30 000 capital gain you make in a year.

Medical schemesIf you belong to a medical scheme, you will receive a tax certificate from the scheme showing details of your contributions for the year, the total amount paid from the medical scheme and the number of beneficiaries you have on the scheme. This is important because you need to provide these details to qualify for your medical tax credits. The current tax credits are R257 per month for the first two beneficiaries and R172 per month for each additional beneficiary.

If you have paid for medical expenses out of your own pocket despite belonging to a medical scheme, try to round up all the receipts for these payments as they are tax-deductible.

Your logbookIf you have a company car or receive a travel allowance from your employer, you will need to provide SARS with a logbook to support your travel expense claims.

Rental incomeIf you own a secondary property or an investment property, then you have to declare your rental income for tax purposes.

Handy tips

  • If you have forgotten your e-filing user name and/or password, you can reset it on the SARS log-in page (secure.sarsefiling.co.za)
  • When e-filing, make sure you click the “submit to SARS” button at the end and check your profile to ensure that your tax return has been submitted and not just saved.
  • If you are using a tax practitioner, check that he or she is registered with a registered controlling body (RCB) as well as with SARS. You can verify these details by checking their tax practitioner number on the SARS website.
  • Free tax education workshops are conducted at SARS branches throughout the year. Contact your local SARS branch to find out more or find out more on the SARS website (www.sars.gov.za).
  • Under certain circumstances, SARS can take the decision to defer your tax payment if you are having financial problems. Contact SARS to discuss payment arrangements if you are unable to pay a large lump sum amount.

Whether you choose to file your taxes by paper, via e-filing, on your own or via a tax practitioner, make sure that you meet the tax deadline that is applicable to you. You can save on penalties that are levied monthly for up to a maximum of 35 months.

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