Income Tax Season Is Almost Here…
eFiling System Update
In anticipation of the upcoming tax season, SARS has improved its mobile filing platform to provide taxpayers with a streamlined and user-friendly experience. With their commitment to advancing the 2024 Vision strategy, which aims to establish a “smart SARS”, SARS continuously develops its digital infrastructure to provide clarity and certainty, facilitate compliance, and foster public trust and confidence.
SARS announced that before the Personal Income Tax Filing Season commences, personal and provisional income taxpayers’ profiles will be updated with third-party information. However, SARS cautions that the displayed data might not be complete until the official opening of the filing season on 7 July 2023.
It was also announced that auto assessments are expected to play a crucial role in the upcoming tax season. Auto assessments serve as a more efficient method for SARS to process tax matters for individuals with simpler tax affairs. Under auto assessments, if a taxpayer is entitled to a refund, it will be automatically processed. Taxpayers who disagree with their auto assessment can submit their tax returns manually to rectify any inaccuracies or provide missing information.
More Changes To Heed This Tax Season
Time Periods for Submissions
According to the updated regulations, in cases where the timelines for specific processes are not predetermined by the established rules, both parties involved have the option to agree upon shortened timeframes for those procedures. This allows for increased flexibility and efficiency in addressing tax compliance matters.
Objection Process Amendments
Taxpayers are required to submit a Notice of Objection (NOO) within 80 days (compared to 30 days under the prior rules) from the date of the assessment. In cases where the taxpayer has requested reasons, the objection must be submitted within 80 days following either the delivery of the SARS notice confirming that adequate reasons have been provided or the receipt of the SARS letter containing the requested reasons. This 80-day period does not include the potential 30-day extension that a taxpayer may request.
According to the updated regulations, a taxpayer can appeal based on a new ground not mentioned in the Notice of Objection (NOO). However, this provision does not apply if the new ground pertains to an objection against a portion of the assessment that was not previously contested.
ADR Facilitator Updates
Alternative Dispute Resolution facilitators must possess relevant tax expertise and be mutually agreeable to SARS and the taxpayer. Upon receiving approval from all parties involved, a senior SARS official is responsible for appointing the facilitator within 15 days from the commencement date of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process.
The facilitator must deliver their first report within five days of the initial meeting and the final report within ten days after the process has been concluded. Additionally, SARS is required to furnish an explanation detailing the reasons behind the assessment and their opposition to the appeal. Rule 31(3) has also been revised to permit SARS to introduce additional grounds for rejecting the objection, provided that it does not entirely alter the foundation of the assessment.
The updated regulations also enable the Tax Board clerk, or the Tax Court registrar, to issue subpoenas for individuals to appear at the appeal, present evidence, or submit documents related to the appeal’s pertinent issues. If a party believes that the subpoena is irrelevant or unreasonable, they have the option to seek relief from the Tax Court.
Income Tax Returns
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