It’s time to file your tax return again and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has changed its system to allow only registered tax practitioners to file on behalf of another person. “If you make use of a tax practitioner, that person must be registered with SARS and also fall under the jurisdiction of a controlling body. If they are not registered, they will be able to fill your return out for you but you would have to file it,” explains Piet Nel, project director for tax at the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica).
If you are submitting your return manually, it needs to be delivered to SARS on or before September 26 2014. If you are using the SARS eFiling platform or submitting your tax return electronically at a SARS office, your cut-off is November 21 2014.
If you are a provisional taxpayer and using the eFiling platform, submit your return on or before January 30 2015 to avoid paying a fine. Provisional taxpayers include anyone who receives income other than a salary. Even as a provisional taxpayer it’s best to complete your return early, Nel notes, as you generally run up interest if you have not paid by the end of September.
Companies have 12 months from the date on which their financial year ends to file their tax returns.
Exemptions and medical expenses:
If your gross income consists solely of one or all of the following three items, then you do not have to submit a return:
1. You earn less than R250 000 a year from a single source of employment and your employer has already deducted an employees’ tax. Your remuneration must not include an allowance or advance in this case.
2. You are an individual earning interest income from a source in South Africa and it does not exceed R23 800 (if you’re below 65) or R34 500 (if you’re above 65).
3. You are a non-resident in South Africa during the 2014 year of assessment and have earned dividends. This is a new exclusion.
This is the last year that taxpayers can claim any qualifying medical expenses as a deduction from taxable income. Only taxpayers over the age of 65 will be able to deduct contributions paid to a medical scheme, as well as qualifying medical expenses. “For those under 65, there is a complex formula that determines what portion of the expenses may be deducted. They should consult a tax practitioner on this,” Nel explains. “All taxpayers must be able to submit proof of medical expenditure in order to show that it is a qualifying expense and was paid by the taxpayer should it be queried by SARS,” he said.
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