Tax in South Africa

Tax in South Africa

A tax is a financial charge or other levy inflicted on a taxpayer by a state and failure to pay, or dodging of collection, is considered an offense hence offenders are liable to punishment by law. Taxes consist of direct or indirect taxes and may be paid in money or as its labour equivalent.

How to make tax returns in South Africa

In South Africa, the tax governing institution, South Africa Revenue Authority (SARS), provides that people who pay income tax are generally individuals who earn an income e.g. from a salary , commission, fees etc. But it is of paramount importance for tax payers to know that they can claim their tax returns. A tax return is a form on which a taxpayer makes an annual statement of income and personal circumstances, used by the tax authorities to assess liability for tax thus individuals are recommended to fill in a tax return at the end of the year.

Anyone earning under R250 000 for a full year from one employer (That’s your total salary income before tax) and have no other sources of additional income (for example, interest or rental income) and no deductions that you want to claim (for example medical expenses, travel or retirement annuities), don’t need to submit a return.

For tax return guide, you should visit to obtain a tax season electronic guide to help with submitting your returns. One can also make use of a “Help-You-eFile” service, an innovation that will provide a taxpayer with access to contact centre agents while the taxpayer is online. SARS agents are able to see what the taxpayers are doing and assist with completion of the tax return. SARS also made available mobile technology and individuals with mobile devices are able to file their returns through the SARS eFiling mobisite (
Individuals can also file the returns offline. The off line filling of tax is where an individual physically walks through the doors of SARS to complete the necessary documents to complete the process. Once you have filed your return, if your tax affairs are straight forward, you will receive the outcome of your assessment almost instantly via an SMS message. Your formal assessment and any audit letters will be sent via the post or email.

The tax filing process may be seen as tiresome by many; but it’s a meaningful process that ensures tax compliance by those involved.
SARS can be contacted on 0800 00 7277.


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