“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax” (Albert Einstein)

Provisional taxpayers using eFiling need to have completed and submitted their 2019 income tax return on or by 31 January.

Make sure you are prepared for this and don’t underestimate the time needed to put the return together. As a starting point you should have a good filing system which makes it easy to find documentation needed to both fill in the return and upload to SARS in terms of supporting schedules.

The income tax return form runs to more than thirty pages, so there is plenty of work to be done – don’t leave it to the last minute!

Your return must be complete

The onus is on you to satisfy SARS that your return is comprehensively and completely filled in. Thus, even if you supply SARS with all the documentation and explanations required, not ticking a box in the form that is applicable can lead to SARS deducing that you have not met your obligation of full disclosure.

This is important as if SARS deems there to be a material non-disclosure in your return (remembering that SARS tends to apply a very narrow interpretation of this) then the three year prescription period for your tax return is waived and SARS can go back and start raising queries on your 2010 return for example. This can put you onto a nightmare road, so take extra care.

We are all aware that SARS has been missing its collection targets in recent years and is under enormous pressure to maximise revenue from taxpayers.

Your accountant is there to assist you – this is a good time to make use of his or her services.