Home Headline Tax Season 2018: Changes At Sars – What Do You Think?

Tax Season 2018: Changes At Sars – What Do You Think?

Source: Moneyweb

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What do you think of the changes at Sars?

Will it be beneficial to you and your clients during the busy season?

Let accountingweekly know your answers to these questions and more by participating in our tax season survey.

By participating in this survey, accountingweekly will be in a position to use the information shared by practitioners and individuals to lobby Sars to bring about further enhancements which may lead to a more streamlined tax filing season in future.

Tis the season to be busy…. Falalalala lala lala…

The 2018 tax season started on 1 July 2018 and closes on 31 October 2018, making it a shorter season than usual, 18 business days to be exact! SARS claims that this will allow more time for verification before the December shutdown for the holidays.

Sars Acting Commissioner, Mark Kingon advised that taxpayers were made aware of a number of important changes for the filing season.

According to the Commissioner, some 1.6 million people filed returns in 2017 despite not having to do so. In an article titled, “8 things you need to know about tax season” that first appeared on Moneyweb, Kingon says, “Sars has sent personalised and direct communication to taxpayers who may not have to submit a tax return, based on information submitted during the 2017 tax season.” There are specific criteria that apply.

Does this mean that tax practitioners will have a lighter workload this tax season?

Sars has indicated they are running a pilot auto-assessment programme that will in effect automatically issue assessments to individuals who are part of the taxpayer population that fall below R350 000 and therefore do not need to submit returns.

If this initiative works, close to a million people would not have to go to SARS branches to do their filing. The process will be closely monitored in order to bring about future improvements.

Sars is giving priority to current year returns in a bid to eliminate the risk of taxpayers being scammed. According to Sars: “Where an assessment on one return may reflect a refund due, there may be instances where prior returns may reflect that the taxpayer needs to make payments. These amounts will be offset against each other and the taxpayer will be notified of the outcome.” This puts taxpayers at risk as they could be scammed as a result.

Kingon said that verification letters would become more specific, requesting only the required information in order to alleviate the burden on taxpaxers having to upload tons of information.

Sars believes it can reduce their own work volume by restricting repeat audits specifically where no risk was previously found.

Although unrelated to the filing season for individuals, the tax burden on dormant companies is being reduced in that they do not have to file if they meet specific criteria as published in the Gazette.

The good news for individuals and practitioners is the publication of the much anticipated Service Charter – which stipulates minimum service levels and turnaround times. According to Kingon, the charter is a “living document” which may be adjusted as required based on feedback received.

Finally, Sars encourages both individuals and practitioners to make extensive use of its eFiling service. In 2017, a record 120 000 returns were filed by practitioners at Sars offices. This trend is baffling Sars but has been attributed to a lack of computer proficiency and fear of the internet. With this in mind, Sars has committed to availing agents to assist individuals through their Help-You-eFile service.

4 COMMENTS

  1. SARS Has so many flows. It is just frustrating to deal with them. What is surprising more is the request by sars of returns of 20 years ago. Where does one start to look for that. Refunds are paid later than 7 days and audits takes for ever. We experienced this problem with the 2016 tax year. This year it is worst

    • Thank you for your valuable comments. We will include them in our survey responses in order to lobby SARS to provide more definitive solutions going forward.

  2. “According to the Commissioner, some 1.6 million people filed returns in 2017 despite not having to do so”. In our experience, this is because everybody that also did not have to file for 2015 and 2016, got penalties for not filing for these years, so they filed for 2017 to avoid such penalties for 2017.

    ““Sars has sent personalised and direct communication to taxpayers who may not have to submit a tax return, based on information submitted during the 2017 tax season.” There are specific criteria that apply.” We would like to know what this criteria is, as none of our clients received such letters even though many of them do not have to file returns according to the criteria listed with the R350 000 specifications.

    And maybe the fact that many tax practitioners are going to branches to submit, can be because of the recent troubles tax practitioners are experiencing in getting their clients registered and active on their e-filing profiles in the first place. 4 out of every 5 new activations in our office receive that “please verify your banking details” letter, even after the client was at SARS already to register as a tax payer. And 3 of those 4 have to go back repeatedly (one client has to go now for the 9th time…) before the profile is activated. And in that time, submission deadlines come up and then practitioners go to a branch so as not to be the cause of penalties for late submissions.
    (by the way – has anybody been able to send a fax to that number they provide for a new profile activation?)

    • Thank you for your valuable comments. We will include them in our survey responses in order to lobby SARS to provide more definitive solutions going forward.

Comments are closed.