What is a SARS income tax auto-assessment?
SARS auto assessments are compiled based on information submitted to SARS from employers, medical aids, banks, retirement annuity funds, etc. Once an auto assessment has been issued by SARS, the taxpayer is notified by SMS or email and is invited to view the assessment on the eFiling website or the SARS MobiApp. The source data used in preparing the assessment can be viewed by the taxpayer by clicking on the “Third Party Data Certificate” search button in the menu bar.
If the taxpayer is satisfied with the accuracy of the auto-assessment, no further steps need to be taken. Payments due to SARS under the auto-assessment must be settled by the payment due date as set out on the Notice of Assessment (ITA34).
Where the taxpayer believes that the auto-assessment is incorrect or incomplete, within a 40-day period, the taxpayer is required to access the return, complete and file it. If this is not possible, they can apply for an extension via eFiling or the SARS MobiApp before the 40 days has expired or within 21 business days of the 40 days, on the basis of reasonable grounds. Extensions beyond 21 business days will only be granted on exceptional grounds, which may be difficult to justify.
Administrative penalties trigger in the event of late filings and since December 2021, SARS levies administrative penalties where more than one return is outstanding. Such penalties are based on taxable income and can range from R250 to R16,000 for each month that the return remains outstanding, with penalties triggering from the first day that the return is late.
Preparing for your 2022 filing
- Register on eFiling or SARS MobiApp
- Confirm that your banking details held on record by SARS are correct.
- Collate all supporting documentation for other sources of income or deductions that you wish to claim.
- Verify whether you are a provisional taxpayer. Provisional taxpayers’ filing deadline for returns is 23 January 2023, whereas 24 October 2022 is the filing deadline for non-provisional taxpayers.
- Regularly check your SMS and email records for notification of your auto-assessment by SARS.
- Once you receive notification of the auto-assessment, log onto SARS eFiling and review the assessment, along with the 3rd party data used to compile it.
- If you are satisfied with the auto-assessment, you do not need to press “Submit” – this is now automated (the 2021 tax filing process required submission).
- If you are dissatisfied with the auto-assessment, obtain and complete a tax return on eFiling within 40 days of the date that the assessment was issued. This is a new development in the 2022 filing process.
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