With the tax season deadlines brought forward by a month this year, it’s time to get your documents ready and do your return. Allan Gray’s tax specialist, Carrie Furman, answers your tax questions
DOES EVERYONE NEED TO SUBMIT A TAX RETURN?
No, not everyone needs to submit an income tax return. If you earned less than R350 000 from one employer during the whole tax year and you don’t have any deductions that you want to claim, you don’t need to file a tax return.
However, if you earn under the tax threshold, but you made a capital gain of more than R40 000, received allowances, such as a travel allowance, fringe benefits (if your employer contributed to your retirement fund, for example), or you have deductions to claim, such as medical expenses or retirement fund contributions, you may need to submit a return.
If you’re unsure about whether you need to file or not, use the tool on the SA Revenue Service (Sars) website to find out, or give Sars a call on its toll-free number – 080 000 7277.
HOW DO I GO ABOUT SUBMITTING MY TAX RETURN?
Start by getting all your supporting documents together. This may include an IRP5 or IT3(a), which report all employment and annuity income, as well as lump sum payments from retirement funds.
An IRP5 is issued when tax was deducted and an IT3(a) is issued when tax was not deducted.
Other certificates you may get are an IT3(b), which reports interest and dividends for local and offshore investments, and an IT3(c), which lists capital gains and losses for local and offshore investments.
Those who have tax-free investments (TFIs) may also receive an IT3(s), which gives details of all contributions, withdrawals and returns earned on TFIs.
Retirement annuity fund members will receive a retirement annuity fund contributions certificate if they made contributions during the tax year.
In most cases, your investment firm will send you these certificates before the tax season begins.
Once you’ve got your documents together, you need to decide whether you’re going to file manually at a Sars branch or online via e-filing.
It’s important to try to file your return sooner rather than later as the new deadline for manual submissions is September 21.
If you’re using the e-filing option, the deadline is October 31 for nonprovisional taxpayers and January 31 for provisional taxpayers.
When you’re e-filing, you can stop at any point during the process, save what you’ve already done and return to it later.
There’s also a calculator tool that you should use before submitting your return as it will pick up any errors and will give you an indication of how much money you owe or can expect back from Sars.
WHAT INFORMATION DOES SARS NEED ABOUT TAX-FREE INVESTMENTS?
If you don’t have any deductions to claim and you have a tax-free investment, you don’t need to submit an income tax return.
But if you do have deductions to claim and you are submitting a tax return, you will need to include the details of your tax-free investments.
The reason for this is that Sars needs to check that you are sticking to your annual and lifetime contribution limits.
I OPENED AN INVESTMENT FOR MY CHILD. DO THEY NEED TO SUBMIT A TAX RETURN?
It depends. If your child has a tax-free investment and they don’t have any other income or deductions to claim, you don’t need to submit a tax return.
However, if they earned income in their own right, for example, from part-time modelling work, and they have a tax-free investment, they need to submit a return and include the details of that tax-free investment because it’s in their name.