Money and Markets

Only half of South Africans accepted their auto-assessed tax returns

Business Insider SA

edward kieswetter
Ed Kieswetter (Facebook)
  • Half of the 1.3 million taxpayers who received automatically assessed returns this year, rejected SARS' version of their tax affairs.
  • This was the first year automatic assessments were done on such a big scale.
  • In 91% of cases, SARS paid out cash owed to taxpayers within 72 hours of receiving returns.
  • For more articles, go to

Only half of the 1.3 million taxpayers who received an automatically assessed tax return in recent weeks, accepted it, says South African Revenue Service Commissioner Edward Kieswetter.

SARS completed these returns with all the information it received for the taxpayers – gathered from their employer, bank, medical scheme, retirement annuity administrator, and other companies. Those who accepted the returns, don’t have to file a tax return this year. It was the first year that automatically assessed tax returns were done on such a big scale.

READ | It’s official: Stay out of office till October, and SARS will let you claim home office costs

Kieswetter told a briefing of the South African National Editors' Forum that 523,000 taxpayers who received these automatically assessed returns made changes to the returns before submitting, Netwerk24 reported.

Earlier, experts warned taxpayers to check automatic returns carefully as they may not reflect all expenses that could bring tax relief – for example donations (which qualify for a tax deduction), home expenses or claims not covered by a medical scheme.

READ | SARS is sending SMS warnings about 'discrepancies' in last year's returns. Here's what to do

Of the 1.3 million returns SARS received by the end of August, 95% came via eFiling and 15% from the SARS MobiApp.

Only 8,000 people - 1% of the total number – submitted returns at the SARS office.

Where SARS owed taxpayers money, the cash was paid back within 72 hours in 91% of the cases. Some 821,000 taxpayers have already received R8.61 billion this tax season.

SARS now expects to earn R1,120 billion this tax year, which is lower than R1,400 billion government expected in February. But by 28 August, SARS had only received R357 billion.

The deadline for returns submitted at SARS offices is October 22nd. Online returns need to be submitted by November 16. The deadline is 29 January for provisional taxpayers.


Receive a daily update on your cellphone with all our latest news: click here.

Get the best of our site emailed to you daily: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa:

  • Data from SA’s massive info breach is ‘on the internet’, Experian now admits
  • A visa company now has ‘doorstep’ coronavirus testing – at R1,040 – for travel clearance
  • Keep your fibre internet going during load shedding - here's how much it costs
  • There are new rules for going to the gym - including when you must wear a mask
  • The American CEO of Makro, Game's owner just used his own money to buy R8m in shares in the company