This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here.  

SARS Anticipates Record 2012 Tax Filing Season

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced new details for individual taxpayers and trusts for the 2012 tax season, in which it is expected that up to 6m taxpayers will submit their income tax returns.

For the new tax season, SARS will unveil new technology and improved services that, it is hoped, will make it much easier and far more convenient for taxpayers to submit their returns.

Five key new service initiatives will be available to taxpayers: quicker assessments, within minutes of submission; a new eFiling application for smart phones; filing a tax return through your mobile phone; real-time call centre assistance to help with filing (Help-You-eFile); and training videos on how to eFile available on YouTube.

SARS has also opened a number of new branches as well as refurbishing others, and is introducing new mobile branches across the country to extend its presence to areas that were previously under-serviced.

In a statement, the Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan commented that “the South African tax system has benefitted from strong growth in the number of registered taxpayers over recent years which is a direct indication of the growing levels of tax compliance in our country”.

By the filing deadline last year, a record 4.86m individuals and trusts had submitted their tax returns on time – 23% higher than the previous year.

In fact, the number of registered individual taxpayers increased from 1.7m in 1994 to more than 6m in 2010. That has, however, doubled following policy changes in 2011 to register all individuals in the country who are formally employed (13.7m individuals by March 31, 2012), despite changes to the tax thresholds. Over the same period, the number of companies registered for income tax increased from 422,000 in 1994 to more than 2m in 2011/12.

In a like manner, registered value added tax (VAT) vendors increased from 397,000 in 1994 to 664,000 currently. This number has increased while the threshold for VAT registrations has also risen substantially to the present ZAR1m (USD122,500) turnover per year.

He emphasized that “almost every one of the estimated population of more than 40m consumers in South Africa makes a contribution to the fiscus through paying tax – be it through income tax on earnings, capital gains or VAT. It is this shared responsibility that has contributed to our fiscal strength and stability, growing each year as reflected by total revenue collection increasing from ZAR114bn in 1994/95 to over ZAR742.7bn in the most recent financial year.

SARS Commissioner Oupa Magashula pointed out that the “approximately 12m individual taxpayers together contributed a total of ZAR251.6bn through personal income tax to our country in the last tax year – or 33.8% of all revenue collection”.

“Of these,” he added, "just under half will, over the next five months, submit a return to SARS to reconcile these contributions against their actual liabilities. In this process approximately 60% will receive a refund, 20% will be tax neutral or receive what we call a ‘nil’ assessment, and approximately 20% will owe additional tax.”

Last year 99% of all returns were completed and submitted electronically – either with assistance at a SARS branch, or by taxpayers or their intermediaries via eFiling. The increased use of technology enabled SARS to process 98% of all returns within 24 hours. SARS also paid ZAR11.9bn in refunds to taxpayers, with 85% of all refunds paid within 72 hours.

It is now confirmed that the use of new technology will offer quicker assessments. SARS will give taxpayers their assessments within minutes of filing their returns. Taxpayers visiting a SARS branch office will be able to leave with the outcome of their assessments and eFilers will receive them electronically before they log off. This is a huge improvement on the three months average it took in 2006, three days in 2009 and 24 hours in 2010 and 2011.

In addition, SARS will introduce an eFiling application that will allow taxpayers to complete and submit their individual tax returns and receive their assessments on new devices like iPads, smartphones and tablets, and an eFiling mobile site where taxpayers can complete and submit their ITR12 return on their mobile phones.

The 2012 tax season runs from July 1, 2012 to January 31, 2013. The deadline for taxpayers who submit their tax returns manually by post or in a SARS drop box is September 28, 2012, while the deadline for all taxpayers who submit their returns electronically at a SARS branch is November 23, 2012. However, provisional taxpayers who submit their returns via eFiling have until January 31, 2013.

Mailing List

Click here to manage your mailing list preferences, or view our privacy statement.

The Report

Offshore Trusts Guide: Introduction

The History of Offshore Trusts
Development of Professional Competence in the Jurisdictions
What Future for the Trust?
The New Age of Transparency
The Swiss Association of Trust Companies
The Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners

Offshore Trusts Guide: Jurisdictions


Bahamas: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bahamas: 2006 Private Trust Companies Legislation


Barbados: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Barbados: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees


Bermuda: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bermuda: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
British Virgin Islands: Special Trusts Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: The Trustee Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: :Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees
British Virgin Islands: New Laws on Private Trust Companies
British Virgin Islands: New Private Trust Company Regulations

Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cayman Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Cook Islands

Cook Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cook Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees


Cyprus: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cyprus: Supervision, Licensing and Tax


Gibraltar: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Gibraltar: Legislation, Regulation and Supervision


Guernsey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Guernsey: Trusts Law 2007

Isle of Man

Isle of Man: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Isle of Man: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Isle of Man: Uses Clients and Tax Treatment


Jersey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Jersey: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Jersey: Trusts Amendment Act 2006
Jersey: Foundations


Liechtenstein: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Liechtenstein: Regulation Supervision and Transparency
Liechtenstein: Characteristics of Liechtenstein Trusts
Liechtenstein: Foundations


Madeira: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees


Malta: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Malta: The Trust and Trustees Act 2004


Mauritius: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Mauritius: Characteristics of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Additional Provisions of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Tax Treatment


Monaco: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees


Nevis: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees


Panama: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Panama: Requirements for Acting as Trust Company in Panama


Seychelles: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Turks & Caicos

Turks & Caicos: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Turks & Caicos: The Voidable Dispositions Ordinance


Vanuatu Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Latest News

Canadian Budget Focuses On 'Tax Fairness'
The tax measures contained Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau's second Budget are focused on closing loopholes, cracking down on tax evasion, and improving tax reliefs for the "middle class."

Jersey Regulator Issues AML/CTF Funds Guidance
Jersey's financial services regulator, the Jersey Financial Services Commission, has issued new anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism guidance for Funds and Fund Operators.

More Tax Hikes For UK Taxpayers In 2017 Budget
The UK Budget, released on March 9, 2017, featured tax measures to, among other things, hike taxes on self-employed workers, further close avenues for legal avoidance, and defer mandatory digital tax reporting until April 2019.

ACOSS Submits Recommendations For Australian Budget
The Australian Council of Social Services has urged that the Government abolish ineffective tax concessions, introduce a sugary drinks tax, and scrap its company tax proposals.

MEPs Call For Wider Access To Beneficial Ownership Data
EU citizens would be able to view information in registers of beneficial ownership without having to demonstrate a "legitimate interest," under proposed amendments the Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

New Zealand Tax Changes Enter Into Force
A Bill including provisions to simplify New Zealand's tax processes, reduce compliance costs for smaller businesses, and tighten foreign trust disclosure rules received Royal Assent on February 21.

Guernsey Introduces Client Asset Handling Rules
Guernsey's financial services regulator, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, said it intends to introduce rules governing the holding and administration of client assets in 2017.

Australian Accountants Urge Tax Burden Shift
Australia desperately needs large scale tax reform and should aim to rebalance its tax mix, the Institute of Public Accountants has argued.

IRS Issues Final Regulations On REIT Spin-Offs
On January 18, the US Internal Revenue Service issued its final regulations regarding the measures included in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act to restrict the tax-free spin-offs involving publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Bermuda, EU To Collaborate On Insurance, Pensions Oversight
The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the Bermuda Monetary Authority have newly signed a memorandum of understanding.

Hong Kong Consults On Beneficial Ownership Plans
Hong Kong's Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau has launched public consultations on legislative proposals to increase the transparency of corporate beneficial ownership in the city, and to enhance its regulatory regime for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

Hong Kong Reports On Incorporations In 2016
There was an increase in local company incorporations in Hong Kong in 2016, although incorporations by foreign companies experienced a dip, according to the territory's Companies Registry.

Guernsey Regulator Outlines 2017 Funds Strategy
Guernsey's financial services regulator, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, has outlined its funds sector strategy for 2017.

Canada Waives Income, Activities Reporting For Labor Org's
Canada's Revenue Minister has announced that certain reporting requirements on labor organizations and labor trusts will be waived.

South African Tax Bills Approved By Parliament
South Africa's Ministry of Finance has published the 2016 Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, which has received parliamentary approval and gives effect to the tax changes announced in the Budget in February this year, together with legislation confirming the final details of. the Special Voluntary Disclosure Program.