Personal Income Tax

Not sure whether you must submit an Income Tax Return (ITR12)? 

Answer these simple questions and find out:

Do any of the following apply to you for the tax year 1 March 2020 to 29 February 2021?

  • Did you conduct any trade* in South Africa?
  • If you are a South African tax resident, did you conduct any trade or employment outside South Africa?
  • Did you earn interest exceeding the annual exempt amount? (Interest earned of R23 800 by an individual below the age of 65 years and interest earned of R34 500 by an individual aged 65 years or older is exempt from income tax.)
  • Did you receive an allowance such as a travel, subsistence or office bearer allowance or a company vehicle fringe benefit?  Check your IRP5/IT3(a) if unsure.
  • Did you hold any funds in foreign currency or assets outside South Africa that have a combined total value of more than R250 000 at any stage during the tax year?
  • Did you have Capital Gains or Capital Losses exceeding R40 000?
  • Was any income or a Capital Gain from funds in foreign currency or assets outside the Republic attributed to you?
  • Do you hold any rights in a Controlled Foreign Company?
  • Did you receive an Income Tax Return or were you asked to submit an Income Tax Return for the tax year?

Who pays tax?

People who pay income tax are generally individuals who earn an income (from a salary, commission, fees, etc.).

Corporate tax includes tax paid by companies or close corporations, as well as trusts, on their annual income. Most of the State’s income is derived from Income Tax (personal and corporate tax), although nearly a third of total revenue from national government taxes comes from indirect taxes, primarily Value-Added Tax (VAT). 

Non-residents 

South Africa has a residence-based tax system, which means residents are, subject to certain exclusions, taxed on their worldwide income, irrespective of where their income was earned. By contrast, non-residents are taxed on their income from a South African source.   Non-residents pay tax on their income from a South African source. 

Supporting Documents

To get ready to submit your tax return, you will need to gather all your supporting documents which include the following:

  • IRP5/IT3(a) certificate(s)  from your employer or pension fund.
  • IT3(b) certificates for investment returns.
  • Financial statements, if applicable e.g. business income.
  • Medical aid contribution certificates and receipts (which can be obtained from your medical aid directly).
  • ​Retirement annuity fund certificates (which can be obtained from your retirement annuity fund directly).
  • Certificates you received for local interest income earned.
  • Logbook and other documents in support of business travel expenses
  • Completed confirmation of diagnosis of disability form (ITR-DD), if applicable
  • Any other relevant income and deduction information.
  • Bank account details (if your banking details have changed, you will need to manually submit this to your local SARS branch, call SARS on 080 000 7277 to find out more information).

For a complete list of supporting documents, click here.

Top tip: Even though you will be using the supporting documents to complete your return, you mustn’t send them to SARS. You must keep them safely for a period of five years should SARS require them in future.

Remember, if you’re filing at a SARS branch you must bring all the documents applicable to you, plus original proof of identity (ID, temporary ID, passport or driver’s licence).

Top tip: Check your IRP5 and verify if all the information is correct before attempting to submit the return. If you notice any errors which might need to be corrected, kindly advise your employer to rectify it.  You will not be able to change these pre-populated fields on the return.

What is it?

Income tax is the normal tax which is paid on your taxable income.

Examples of amounts an individual may receive, and from which the taxable income is determined, include –
  • Remuneration (income from employment), such as, salaries, wages, bonuses, overtime pay, taxable (fringe) benefits, allowances and certain lump sum benefits
  • Profits or losses from a business or trade
  • Income or profits arising from an individual being a beneficiary of a trust
  • Director’s fees
  • Investment income, such as interest and foreign dividends
  • Rental income or losses
  • Income from royalties
  • Annuities
  • Pension income
  • Certain capital gains

Who is it for?

You are liable to pay income tax if you earn more than:
 
For the 2021 year of assessment (1 March 2020 – 28 February 2021)
  • R83 100 if you are younger than 65 years.
  • If you are 65 years of age or older, the tax threshold (i.e. the amount above which income tax becomes payable) increases to R128 650.
  • For taxpayers aged 75 years and older, this threshold is R143 850.
 
For the 2020 year of assessment (1 March 2019 – 29 February 2020)
  • R79 000 if you are younger than 65 years.
  • If you are 65 years of age or older, the tax threshold (i.e. the amount above which income tax becomes payable) increases to R122 300.
  • For taxpayers aged 75 years and older, this threshold is R136 750.
 
For the 2019 year of assessment (1 March 2018 – 28 February 2019) – see changes from last year
  • R78 150 if you are younger than 65 years.
  • If you are 65 years of age or older, the tax threshold (i.e. the amount above which income tax becomes payable) increases to R121 000.
  • For taxpayers aged 75 years and older, this threshold is R135 300.
 
For the 2018 year of assessment (1 March 2017 – 28 February 2018)
  • R75 750 if you are younger than 65 years.
  • If you are 65 years of age or older, the tax threshold (i.e. the amount above which income tax becomes payable) increases to R117 300.
  • For taxpayers aged 75 years and older, this threshold is R131 150.
 
For the 2017 year of assessment (1 March 2016 – 28 February 2017)
  • R75 000 if you are younger than 65 years.
  • If you are 65 years of age or older, the tax threshold (i.e. the amount above which income tax becomes payable) increases to R116 150.
  • For taxpayers aged 75 years and older, this threshold is R129 850.
For the 2016 year of assessment (1 March 2015 – 29 February 2016)
  • R73 650 if you are younger than 65 years.
  • If you are 65 years of age or older, the tax threshold (i.e. the amount above which income tax becomes payable) increases to R114 800.
  • For taxpayers aged 75 years and older, this threshold is R128 500.

See more tax rates here.

Top tip: You don’t need to file if your total salary for the year before tax is not more than R350 000, provided:
  • You only have one employer (but remember if you have two employers or  income sources e.g. late spouse / partner pension income, exam markings income, rental income, moonlighting income etc you do need to file even if the total is still under R350 000)
  • You have no car allowance or other income (e.g. interest or rent)
  • You are not claiming tax related deductions (e.g. medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions, travel expenses,etc)
  • You received interest from a source in South Africa not exceeding –
    • R23 800 if you are below the age of 65 years; or
    • R34 500 if you aged 65 years or older.
    • R23 800 in the case of the estate of a deceased person.
  • Dividends were paid to you and you were a non-resident during the 2017 year of assessment.
  • Amounts received or accrued from a Tax Free Investment.

If you don’t submit your income tax return on time, you may be liable for penalties.

How should it be submitted?

Online: The easiest and quickest way to file a tax return is online, by making use of SARS eFiling or the MobiApp. You must, however, first register for eFiling on the SARS eFiling website or using the MobiApp. We have a page where we explain to you in detail how to register for eFiling. Once registered, you can complete the online form to create your return. Note that you will start by completing the first page of the form which contains several questions regarding the nature of your tax affairs (referred to as a return “wizard”). Completion of this part will automatically tailor the tax return to your specific tax requirements.
 
In a branch: The tax return can also be requested by visiting any SARS branch office. To find your nearest branch visit our branch locator. (Please note that there may be delays and queues during filing season, which is why SARS promotes the use of eFiling as a medium for return submission)
 
Top Tip: When completing your return, you will require the following documentation in order to verify the existing, pre-populated information that appears in the return, as well as to complete any remaining portions:
  • IRP5: This is the employees’ tax certificate your employer issues to you.
  • Certificates you received for local interest income earned.
  • Any other documentation relating to income received or accrued, such as remuneration that has not been reported to SARS by your employer, or business or investment income, etc.
  • Details of medical expenses paid and medical scheme contributions made.
  • The relevant certificates reflecting your retirement annuity fund contributions made.
  • A logbook and other documents in support of business travel expenses (if the travel allowance is part of your remuneration or if you have the right of use of a company car taxable benefit).
  • Any other documentation relating to the allowable deductions you wish to claim.
 
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Download our personal income tax submission checklist below:

Attachments

File Description Date added File size Downloads
pdf JCS Personal Tax Submission Requirements Download our requirements to submit your personal tax (ITR12).
July 2, 2021 3:09 pm 214 KB 57