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Covid-19 has changed SARS and us for the 2019/20 filing season

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

Covid-19 has changed the world – well for the short term anyway. It’s also changed SARS in 2 ways that affect us, regular taxpayers:

1. The SA government needs as much cash as they can get their hands on so SARS’s mandate is to collect as much as possible. That translates to SARS using their access to banks and other institutions both in and outside SA’s borders to gather as much information about you as possible. Then they will check that information against your return and ask you to explain any differences.

SARS is also making increasing use of AI and simple data crunching through their computers to identify taxpayers who might not be entirely forthright with the information they are submitting to SARS. SO, expect lots of queries this year because SARS wants as much out of your wallet as they can possibly extract.

2. The tax filing dates we have all become so used to have changed quite dramatically. Most importantly for individuals, the tax filing season only starts on 1 September but it still closes by 16 November for non-provisional taxpayers and 31 January for provisional taxpayers.

What that means is :

· You are only going to get your refund (if you are due one) 2 months later than you would normally expect it (nice cash flow management tool SARS!!); and

· tax practitioners like us are going to be under LOTS of pressure because we have 2 less months to get everything completed and submitted.

The time to prepare for all this is BEFORE 1 September. Give us a call if you feel like you might need help. With all the information they are gathering, SARS is pre-populating our tax returns. So, whilst that might look like it’s making life easier, it means we taxpayers have to check what they have carefully to make sure they have everything and aren’t claiming more than they should from us.

Tax is complex at the best of times! In the post Covid-19 era it’s not only complex but the various Receivers in both SA and the UK are hungry, being under tremendous pressure to meet the promises of their political bosses. Don’t do this alone because you will probably lose. Call us today!


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