2024 tax filing season dates announced by SARS, here’s when to expect an auto assessment

The tax filing season is set to commence from July 15. File picture: Ziphozonke Lushaba / Independent Media.

The tax filing season is set to commence from July 15. File picture: Ziphozonke Lushaba / Independent Media.

Published Jun 5, 2024


South Africa’s tax filing season is set to commence from the middle of July, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced.

What this means is that both provisional and non-provisional taxpayers will be able to file their annual tax returns from July 15, 2024.

However, as before, non-provisional taxpayers - your average individual in other words - will receive auto-assessment notices between July 1 and 14.

SARS has not released any further information pertaining to the auto-assessments, but in 2023 taxpayers were told there was no need to formally “accept” them, but those objecting to their assessments were given more than three months to file a return.

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SARS is now making use of artificial intelligence (AI) to hone in on non-compliant taxpayers, and to make better use of the multilateral information exchange agreements that it has in place with revenue collection agencies around the globe.

How to avoid penalties or jail time

South Africa’s largest tax practitioner, Tax Consulting SA, urges taxpayers to get acquainted with the most basic tax rules in order to stay on the correct side of the law.

“A common misconception amongst low-medium income earners is ‘what SARS doesn’t know, won’t hurt me’.

“Don’t make the same mistake that the affluent have already learnt from - SARS, and other revenue authorities around the world, know more about your finances than your own family do,” Tax Consulting SA warns.

Section 234 of the Tax Administration Act provides a laundry list of actions and inactions that constitute criminal offences in South Africa.

This not only includes failing to submit a tax return, but also the submission of incomplete documents and neglecting to notify SARS of changes in your registered particulars. Upon conviction, taxpayers could face a fine or a prison sentence of up to two years.

Incorrect disclosures can also lead to Understatement Penalties, capped at a whopping 200% of the capital taxes due, Tax Consulting SA warns.

Ahead of this year’s tax season, SARS has urged taxpayers to ensure they have received their IRP5/IT3(a) and other tax certificates, such as their retirement annuity fund, medical aid and any other relevant third-party data.

These can also be used to cross-reference auto-assessments on the eFiling website or MobiApp.

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