SARS announced its rules and regulations for the 2018/2019 tax year at a recent briefing. The tax return threshold has been raised from R350,000 to R500,000.
Until this announcement, people earning less than R350,000 a year could qualify to not to have to file a tax return. This threshold now sits at R500,000. People who make less than this amount each year no longer have to submit a tax return.
However, there are criteria that the taxpayer must meet before this new regulation applies to them. The new rule is not a blanket exemption from completing a tax return for those who earn less than R500,000 per year.
To qualify for not having to submit a tax return, taxpayers must meet the following conditions:
- Their entire income for the year before tax is no greater than R500,000.
- They earned their income from only one employer for the duration of the tax year.
- Their income doesn’t include other revenue streams such as rental income, business income or taxable interest.
- They don’t have other tax deductions to claim. These include medical expenses, car allowances, travel expenses and retirement annuity contributions.
Therefore, despite earning less than R500,000 in a year, the following people still have to submit a tax return to SARS:
- They have worked for more than one employer during the tax year. In other words, they have more than one IRP5 form against their tax number.
- Their salary from their employer is the only income they earn.
- They don’t have tax deductibles to claim from SARS.
Edward Kieswetter, recently appointed the new SARS commissioner, has warned the public that attempts to defraud the revenue collector have serious consequences.
Criminal acts will be met with prosecution as SARS is adopting a zero-tolerance approach to trying to outwit the organisation.
SARS has been mired in controversy over the last few years after accusations of a rogue unit and corruption have dogged it. Many South Africans had begun to lose faith in the revenue collector, once widely regarded as one of the world’s most progressive.
Kieswetter has taken office and hit the ground running to regain the faith of the public and repair the organisation’s tattered reputation. The collection shortfalls of recent years have been a major bone of contention and have contributed to the country’s growing budget deficit.
The Treasury Department has praised the plans SARS unveiled and is confident the revenue collector will have a successful tax season.
Kieswetter took the same opportunity to encourage taxpayers to make use of the digital platforms SARS has created. Once again, users have the option of using the eFiling option.
In addition, SARS has launched a MobiApp which allows users to file their tax returns on smart devices such as cell phones and tablets.
Digital platforms open for the submission of tax returns on the 1st of July 2019, and users have until the 4th of December 2019 to finalise their taxes.
For taxpayers who want to visit a SARS branch personally, the dates for submission are from the 1st of August 2019 until the 31st of October 2019.