(Q1) How does auto-assessments work?
(A1) SARS receives information from various sources such as employers, banks, medical schemes and retirement funds. This information is used to pre-populate a taxpayer’s tax return and to generate his or her automated tax assessment.
(Q2) When will an auto-assessment be issued by SARS?
(A2) SARS will issue 2023 auto-assessments from 1 July 2023 to those taxpayers who have less complicated tax affairs. If you agree with the auto-assessment it is not necessary to “accept” the assessment, as non-action will be considered as implied confirmation by the taxpayer that the assessment is correct.
(Q3) How can I check if an auto-assessment was issued for me?
(A3) Taxpayers can visit the following website and after completing some basic questions (name, surname, tax number, id number, etc.) SARS will indicate whether the taxpayer was auto assessed or not: https://tools.sars.gov.za/sarsonlinequery/assessmentlookup. Alternatively, a taxpayer can check on their eFiling profile or via the SARS MobiApp.
(Q4) How does the 2023 auto-assessment regime differ from 2022?
(A4) In 2022 a taxpayer had 40 days’ time to submit a return if he or she disagreed with the auto-assessment. In 2023 SARS is affording taxpayers more time, until 23 October 2023, to submit a return if they are unhappy with their auto-assessments. For auto-assessments issued after 23 October 2023, the 40-day period will still apply and will start on day the auto-assessment was issued.
(Q5) If I received an auto-assessment, what must I do?
(A5) Check the accurateness of the auto-assessment data used to generate the auto-assessment by accessing eFiling or using the SARS MobiApp. Make sure that all your income is reflected on the assessment as well as all deductions you want to claim. If you agree with the auto-assessment check whether a refund is due by SARS or whether a payment is due to SARS. If a refund is due by SARS, no further action is required, and SARS should make the refund within 72 hours if your correct banking details is on file. If money is due to SARS, payment can be made via eFiling and the SARS MobiApp in conjunction with your EFT banking profile. Payment must be made by the due date appearing on the Notice of Assessment (ITA34), to avoid interest. If you disagree with the auto-assessment, the return can be updated and filed until the 23rd of October 2023.
(Q6) What happens if a taxpayer makes changes to his or her return?
(A6) If the changes are accepted by SARS, the taxpayer will be issued with an additional or reduced assessment. If SARS is not in agreement with the updates, a notification will be issued by SARS. If you disagree with SARS’s decision, the normal dispute resolution steps may be followed.
(Q7) How do I ascertain whether data used by SARS to complete my auto-assessment is correct?
(A7) A taxpayer can access third party data certificates, which SARS used to generate the auto-assessment, via eFiling, by using the “Third Party Data Certificate” search functionality. A taxpayer can then compare the information on eFiling to the certificates he or she received from the third parties (for example a medical aid certificate received from the medical aid provider), for correctness.
(Q8) What must I do if data used by SARS to generate the auto-assessment is incorrect or incomplete?
(A8) The taxpayer must request the third-party organisation who provided the incorrect or incomplete data to SARS, to correct and to resubmit the amended data to SARS. Once the taxpayer has received confirmation from the third party that corrections has been submitted to SARS, the taxpayer must access his or her tax return on eFiling or the MobiApp, refresh the tax return data & file the amended return.
(Q9) Will I be selected for a SARS verification or audit?
(A9) Taxpayers who are auto assessed will not be subject to a verification or audit as SARS has already quality checked these assessments. However, if amendments are made by a taxpayer to the auto-assessment, SARS may select him or her for an audit or verification. It is therefore important that all supporting documentation to substantiate any changes to the auto-assessment, are kept on file by the taxpayer, should SARS request it.
(Q10) If SARS requests supporting documentation, how do I go about to submit it?
(A10) Several channels can be used to furnish supporting documentation to SARS, including eFiling, the SARS MobiApp and the SARS Online Query System. Always include the correct case number when supporting documentation is submitted to enable SARS to correctly match the supporting documentation with your specific case.
(Q11) Where incorrect banking details at SARS are holding up payment of a taxpayer’s refund, how long does it take for SARS to update the banking details and to pay-out the refund?
(A11) Once all vital supporting documentation have been received and verified by SARS and the banking details change request have been green-lighted, the income tax refund should be released by SARS within 21 business days. See the following website for more relating to bank detail change requests: https://www.sars.gov.za/types-of-tax/personal-income-tax/filingseason/supporting-documents-for-banking-details/.
(Q12) What is the deadline for filing a 2023 tax return?
(A12) A taxpayer who has been auto assessed and who agrees with the assessment does not have to file a tax return. If the taxpayer disagrees, a tax return can be completed and filed from 7 July to 23 October 2023 via the appropriate channels. If a return is filed after 23 October 2023, penalties will be applicable. Extension to file may be requested in certain circumstances, but penalties will still be applicable.
For any further queries, you are welcome to contact Petri Westraadt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SARS website: https://tools.sars.gov.za/sarsonlinequery/assessmentlookup.