SARS Auto-assessment: An explainer.

South African Revenue Services (Sars) announced a few big changes to the individual tax season this year. The biggest one being the auto-assessment. But what does it mean when SARS auto-assesses your tax for the 2020 individual tax return season?

From 1 August to 31 August 2020, SARS will be assessing a significant number of taxpayers automatically. Essentially doing the filing of their tax return for them. Qualifying individuals will receive an SMS from SARS and if they agree with the outcome, they do not have to file a tax return at all.

Auto-assess are based on the data they receive from employers, financial institutions, medical schemes, retirement annuity fund administrators and other 3rd party data providers. SARS will then issue an auto-assessment based on the information supplied.

The taxpayer will receive a SMS from SARS indicating that there is an auto-assessment and that they should then login to SARS e-filing and either accept or change this assessment. The SMS received will direct the user to their eFiling or MobiApp profile to review, accept or edit the outcome.

If the taxpayer accepts the assessment and SARS owes them a refund it will be paid to them within 72 hours. If the assessment indicates that the taxpayer owes SARS, they have to settle this outstanding tax before the due date on the assessment.

All taxpayers should be very certain that the information used on the auto-assessment is correct and there are no deductions that could have been claimed by them in processing their income tax assessment.

If the individual agrees with the auto-assessment all they have to do is login and accept. If not, it should be changed based on available supporting documentation on hand. The taxpayer will remain liable should there be any relevant information omitted from the return. As such, it is imperative that these suggested auto-assessments be reviewed carefully and edited where necessary.

The due date to accept or change this auto-assessment is 31 August 2020. If there is no response by 31 August 2020, SARS will then queue this assessment as a normal assessment for which a return must be completed and submitted to SARS.

Please note that we as your tax practitioner, will not necessarily be aware of any auto-assessments issued by SARS.

We therefore request that you inform us immediately if you receive a notification that SARS has issued an auto-assessment notice to you. This will enable us to check if the auto-assessment is accurate and include all potential deductions.

We will continue to assist you in complying with the completion and submitting of your annual personal income tax return where we have done so in previous years. You need not do anything at this stage, other than inform us of any notice of auto-assessment notices issued by SARS and supply us with your annual tax information as usual.

Should you have any queries or concerns, feel free to contact Veritas and we will gladly assist.

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