Paying income tax
Personal income tax is the money you pay to government from your salary or wages. This money is used to help pay for roads, schools, hospitals and other government services. The South African Revenue Services (SARS) manages the collection of taxes and ensures that all working citizens contribute fairly. The 2017 tax season for individuals kicked-off on 1 July 2017. Here's some information to help you file your tax return.
What happens during tax season?
During tax season, you need to submit an ITR12 form (which is your official Income Tax Return) so that SARS can calculate your tax on your income and the tax-deductible expenses for the year being assessed.
If, after considering all your income and expenses, SARS determines that you’ve paid too much tax, you’ll receive a refund. If you haven’t paid the full amount due, you’ll be asked to pay the outstanding amount.
For information on how to fill in your ITR12 form correctly, please read:
Changes to the ITR12 tax return
For the 2017 tax season SARS introduced the following changes to the ITR12 tax return:
For a detailed look at the changes, click here.
The important 2016 deadline dates are:
Here’s what you need to know before you get started on your tax return this year.
The amount of personal income tax that you pay depends on:
Before submitting your tax return, make sure you've got all the supporting documents ready which may include the following:
Proof of income including:
Proof of deductions such as:
Read more about the complete list of supporting documents you may need.
Who qualifies to pay personal income tax?
People who pay income tax are generally individuals who earn an income from a salary, commission, fees, etc.
If you're still unsure whether you need to submit a return then answer these simple questions.
Corporate tax includes tax paid by companies or close corporations, as well as trusts, on their annual income.
How do I register to pay income tax?
The only way to register as a tax payer is to visit one of the SARS branches. Before you go to the branch, make sure you have all the supporting documents ready.
The following supporting documents are required:
1. Proof of identity
Certified or uncertified copies of a valid identity document, driving licence, passport, temporary identity document, asylum seekers certificate or permit together with the original identification (identity document includes the green barcoded book and the smart ID card).
2. Proof of address
SARS will only accept these listed documents as proof of residential or business address. The document must clearly show the taxpayers name (either initials and surname or first names(s) and surname) and the physical address.
3. Proof of bank details
You'll also need an original letter from your bank which is not older than 1 month (30 days), confirming the account holder’s legal name, account number, account type, branch code and the date on which the account was opened. Alternatively you can submit an original bank statement or ATM / Internet generated statement or eStamped statement not more than 3 months old that confirms the account holder's legal name, bank name, account number, account type and branch code.
If you've opened a new bank account and a bank statement can't be produced, you must provide an original letter from the bank (not older than 1 month) with the original bank stamp reflecting the date the bank account was opened.
If your spouse doesn't have a bank account and chooses to use your banking details, a certified copy of the marriage certificate is required. In instances of a life partner, an affidavit must be provided.
All you need is a computer and internet access. As a registered eFiler you'll then be able to submit your tax return online, make payments to SARS etc.
PAYE, or Employees’ tax, is the tax that employers must deduct from the employment income of employees – such as salaries, wages and bonuses and pay over to SARS monthly. It's withheld daily, weekly, or monthly, when these amounts are paid or become payable to the employees.
It ensures that an employee's income tax liability (amount of tax owed) is settled on an ongoing basis, while the income is being earned. The advantage of this is that the tax liability for the year is settled over the course of the whole year of assessment.
The amount of PAYE you pay depends on how much you earn and is calculated using tax tables issued by SARS.
Once a year, your employer will give you an IRP5 tax certificate that shows the total amount that you earned and the total tax that was deducted.
You need to register with SARS before you complete a tax return. If you’ve already registered, your tax return forms will be sent to you in the post.
What is eFiling?
eFiling is an online tax return and submission service. You can register for eFiling if you’re already registered as a taxpayer.
You’ll receive detailed instructions on how to complete the tax return with the forms. When you submit your return, SARS will check that you’ve paid the correct amount of tax.
SARS helps you eFile
What is Help-You-eFile?
SARS has introduced a mobile app that allows you to:
Find out more about the SARS mobile app and how it can simplify your tax returns this year.
Don't fall for scams
Don't be fooled by emails asking for your personal information. SARS will never:
Not paying tax that you owe to SARS has severe legal implications. You can be fined or imprisoned if you’re found guilty of:
For more information:
- Income Tax and the Individual (Public Information)