SARS Urges Taxpayers to Remain Tax Compliant During the Pandemic


At a media briefing this week, the South African African Revenue Service (SARS) Commissioner, Edward Kieswetter, urged income taxpayers to remain tax-compliant during this difficult time.

Kieswetter reportedly said the government needs tax revenue to provide relief to businesses and individuals, and, in particular, to keep health workers and other frontline workers employed.

“During this time, it remains extremely important for all taxpayers to remain compliant. This means registering when they are legally required to, submitting tax declarations, returns, and relevant submissions where required, and making the necessary payments when they become due unless they have entered into a permissible payment arrangement with SARS,” he said

Kieswetter continued, saying, SARS was expecting a hefty decrease in revenue for this tax year. “While it is early days, our initial view is that revenue performance will be lower than the February Budget announcement by between 15% and 20%. This means that revenue under-recovery could move up to R285billion.”

SARS has made a number of key changes for this year’s filing season, which will be in three phases:

  • Phase 1: Employer filing (April 15 to May 31). Employers need to ensure they are fully compliant in respect of their filing and payment obligations for PAYE on behalf of their employees. Third-party information from banks, medical schemes, and financial services providers must also be submitted within this period.
  • Phase 2: Tax file updates (June 1 to August 31). During this period taxpayers can engage with SARS to ensure that their tax details are up to date. During this phase, a significant number of taxpayers will receive auto-assessments and will be given an opportunity to confirm their acceptance of the assessment outcome by SARS. Individuals who are not required to file will be informed and those required to file during Phase 3 will be informed.
  • Phase 3: Employee filing (September 1, 2020, to January 31, 2021). Individuals who are required to file will be reminded. Non-provisional taxpayers and those who have not accepted the outcome of an auto-assessment must file between September 1 and November 16, with those making use of branch facilities having until October 22. Provisional taxpayers who have not accepted the outcome of an auto-assessment can file when they are ready, but no later than January 31, 2021.

Taxpayers are advised to use SARS’ enhanced e-filing system to check their compliance status, review their registration details and obtain a statement of account.