SA tax season is open: here is what you need to know

by Jenna Deeley-SmithJuly 4, 2017

Tax Season 2017 officially opened on Saturday, 1 July 2017 for eFilers, and on Monday for branch filers.

Taxpayers can now commence completing and submitting their 2017 personal income tax returns for the 2016/17 tax year, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) said.

Tax Season is the single biggest annual engagement between ordinary citizens and SARS. Last year during Tax Season, SARS said it received 6.31 million income tax returns.

For the bulk of personal income taxpayers, July to November is the period to complete and submit their tax returns. Over the past few years, SARS has tried to make the process even easier for those wanting to comply and ‘pay their fair share’.

To ensure that taxpayers are prepared, SARS has provided helpful information to make Tax Season even easier.

Not everyone needs to file an income tax return. Taxpayers do not have to submit an income tax return if:

  • Your total salary for the year before tax is not more than R350,000
  • You only receive employment income from one employer for the full year of assessment
  • You have no other form of income such as car allowance, business income, taxable interest, rent or income from another job
  • You don’t have any additional allowable tax deductions to claim such as medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions and travel expenses.

Have the following documents ready including proof of income such as:

  • IRP5/IT3(a) from your employer or pension fund
  • Tax certificates for investment income IT3(b)
  • Tax Free Investments certificate(s) IT3(s)
  • Financial statements (e.g. for business income), etc.

Also have  proof of deductions such as:

  • Medical aid contribution certificates and receipts
  • Completed confirmation of diagnosis of disability form (ITR-DD) if you want to claim any disability expenses
  • Retirement annuity contribution certificates
  • Information relating to foreign tax credits withheld
  • Travel logbook (if you receive a travel allowance or use a company car), etc.
  • Proof of identity: ID, passport or driving licence if you visit a branch to submit your return.


Medical deductions

Check if the information on your medical aid contribution certificate is correct. If not, contact your medical aid scheme to correct it before you file your tax return.

If your employer paid your medical scheme contributions to your medical scheme on your behalf, the amount will appear on your IRP5/IT(3)a certificate but SARS will not use this amount in calculating your assessment. You must complete the medical expenses section on your ITR12 using the information on your medical scheme tax certificate.

Medical expenditure not covered by a medical scheme that is reflected on the relevant medical scheme tax certificate must be completed in the field next to the code 4020.

Qualifying medical out-of-pocket expenses which are not reflected on any medical scheme certificate and that were not claimed from a medical scheme should be indicated next to code 4034.


Disability claims

If a taxpayer, their spouse or qualifying children have been diagnosed with a disability by a duly registered medical practitioner and they want to claim deductions, they have to provide the following information:

  • The date of birth of the qualifying person(s)
  • The severity of the disability as per the ITR-DD
  • The date when the most recent Confirmation of Diagnosis of Disability (ITR-DD) certificate was completed
  • The medical practice number of the medical practitioner who completed the ITR-DD
  • Where there is more than one person with a disability, detailed information per person is required.


Retirement Annuity Fund Contributions

If you want to claim deductions for retirement annuity contributions you made, you must provide the individual policy number(s) and the name(s) of the insurer(s) or fund(s) of each, SARS said.

SARS said it will continue to strive towards providing the best services possible to taxpayers during Tax Season.

It urged taxpayers are to use its eFiling platform to submit their tax returns as it is the quickest and easiest way to submit a return and is available 24 hours.

SARS said that eFilers requiring assistance can make use of the free Help-You-eFile service by simply clicking on the Help-You-eFile icon on eFiling and following the prompts to get access to a friendly SARS Contact Centre agent who will help them every step of the way while eFiling.

The ever-increasing SARS footprint now extends to 53 branches nationwide, 21 Mobile Tax Units that service taxpayers in remote areas of the country and increased efficiency at the SARS Contact Centre.



“Taxpayers are urged to complete their returns on time. Non-provisional taxpayers who eFile or submit their returns electronically at a SARS branch have until 24 November 2017 to file. Provisional taxpayers who eFile, have until 31 January 2018 to submit their returns.

“Manual submissions through the post or at SARS drop boxes must be made by 22 September 2017,” it said.




About The Author
Jenna Deeley-Smith