2021 TAX SEASON: When does it start?

The South African Revenue Services (SARS) has announced that taxpayers will be able to file their tax returns from 1 July 2021.

There are two sets of dates to be aware of:

  • 1 July to 23 November 2021 – This is the period for taxpayers who file online. If you cannot file your taxes online, you must book an appointment at a SARS branch. They are strict about this!
  • 1 July to 28 January 2022 – This is the period for Provisional taxpayers including Trusts may file via eFiling or SARS MobiApp.

Make sure that you have these documents ready:

  • IRP5/IT3 from your employer
  • Other tax certificates like
    • medical aid
    • certificate retirement annuity fund certificate
    • any other third-party data that will influence how much tax you are liable to pay

Do not wait for your employer, medical aid scheme, retirement annuity fund or any other third-party data providers. Make sure you check whether they have complied with their submission requirements.

Remember! It is better to make sure things are correct at the onset than to try to fix a problem later – especially if you need to claim money back!

Working from home

If you meet the requirements below, you may be allowed to deduct certain home office expenses for tax purposes calculated on a pro-rata basis.

BUT!

SARS has laid out very specific terms that are outlined in the Income Tax Act:

  • is your home office used regularly and exclusively for the work you do and is it specifically equipped for that purpose? It must be set up solely for the purpose of work.
  • Is your remuneration only your salary? Is more than 50% of your duties performed in your home office?
  • Is more than 50% of your remuneration based on commission or other variable payments based on your performance? Is more than 50% of these duties performed outside of an office provided by your employer?

These expenses may typically include:

  • Rent of the premises
  • Cost of repairs to the premises
  • Expenses in connection with the premises

In addition to these expenses, other typical home office expenditure may include:

  • Phones
  • Internet
  • Stationery
  • Rates and taxes
  • Cleaning
  • Office equipment; and
  • Wear-and-tear

TAKE NOTE:

Your employment contract must state clearly that these things are your responsibility, so check with your employer as soon as possible to make sure that your contract has been updated to accommodate these.

TWO CAUTIONARY TALES

  1. James the driver

    I had a client not very long ago who was really diligent in keeping all his petrol slips and keeping a log of all his business travel in a notebook. Just before he needed to submit his tax documents, he lost the logbook! SARS repudiated the ENTIRE travel claim.
  1. The landlord with the faulty calculator

    The landlord in question (let us call her Nosi) miscalculated some of the expenses she incurred on a property she was renting out. She was due for a R20 000 refund. However, because of the miscalculation, SARS repudiated the whole claim for expenses!

    Instead, they held her liable for tax to the amount of R40 000 and then began to add interest from day 1. It was only at this point that she decided to get a tax practitioner. Involved. Luckily, we did manage to get the problem sorted out.

SARS needs your money. You may very well be audited for any of your tax claims, so do not attempt to suck these figures out of your thumb! You will need to have physical proof of your expenses.

Speak up. These are uncertain times and most of us have had to make changes to the way we work. These changes may or may not be advantageous to us when it comes to tax. It is vital to speak to a seasoned Tax Practitioner who can help you fill in the paperwork once, correctly and get it submitted successfully.

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