In recent days there have been unconfirmed information doing the rounds that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) is planning changes to the coming tax filing season due to the impact of the Coronavirus.  We have since publishing this original article been able to confirm the proposed changes from a published statement made by SARS Commissioner, Edward Kieswetter as it relates to a media briefing held on 05 May 2020.

According to the information, the 2020 filing season will consist of three phases.

Phase 1: Employer filing (15 April 2020 – 31 May 2020)

The first phase of the tax filing season consist of the submission of the annual employer reconciliation.  Compliance by employers in respect of payroll taxes (PAYE) is very important as it ensures a lower burden of compliance for employees.  Compliance by providers of Third Party Information such as Banks and Insurance schemes are also encouraged during this time as it allows SARS to use data modeling and artificial intelligence to perform the final assessment of all standard taxpayers and provide the majority of individual taxpayers with a seamless filing experience.

Phase 2: Tax file updates (1 June – 31 August 2020)

During the second phase of the tax filing season, taxpayers are requested to engage with SARS to ensure their tax files are up to date.  This includes performing general hygiene checks, updating banking details, making address changes, etc., most of which can be performed online.  All outstanding third party information will also be followed up during this period to ensure the highest level of data integrity.

During this phase taxpayers may receive auto-assessments and be given an opportunity to confirm their acceptance of the assessment outcome.  Individual taxpayers required to file returns but who have not been auto-assessed, may file their returns early via online platforms.  Their employers and other third-party data providers must however be fully complaint in order for them to do so.  Individuals who are not required to file returns will be informed and individuals who are required to file during Phase 3 will also be informed.

Phase 3: Employee filing (1 September – 31 January 2021)

During the third phase of tax filing season, individuals who are required to file will be reminded.  Non-provisional taxpayers or taxpayers who have not accepted the outcome of an auto-assessment are required to file between 1 September to 16 November 2020 and are encouraged to do so using online platforms.  Non-provisional taxpayers who file returns at a branch have until 22 October 2020 to file whilst provisional taxpayers who have not accepted the outcome of an auto-assessment are required to file no later than 31 January 2021.

Should you require assistance with filing your tax returns, please contact us here.


Liza Moorcroft


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