After phoning SARS about an eFiling problem (presently 2015), I was told by the consultant that my tax return for 2013 was overdue. I responded that I hadn't been making anywhere near the tax threshold that year, and that various SARS website material, tax-consultants & SARS consultants over the years had confirmed as much (single source income, no med-aid, no R/A, no travel, no NPO-PBO donations, etc). He responded that everyone had to submit a tax return every year, regardless of how much they earned. This caused great distress and we scoured the SARS website & online information, all of which confirmed what we originally believed. That having a low single, source income without any claims (as listed above) did NOT require an official tax return. Furthermore, last year in 2014 no issues were raised, and I received a tax-refund which presumably they would not have paid had there been a problem. (we even used the SARS website "Do I need to submit a tax return?" calculator and it said "no"). Could you please help me understand what is going on? I get the feeling the call centre operator is inexperienced and just going by a record in front of him that simply records that no tax return was submitted prior to 2014. Naturally I am worried about penalties.
Whilst there is plenty of indication from SARS over the years that tax returns do not need to be filed based on certain criterion, this year SARS have changed this due to their systems picking up on all tax returns which have not been filed since a taxpayer registered as a taxpayer. We have always advised taxpayers to file regardless, so that they are kept fully compliant and also a situation like this did not occur. So in theory you did not need to file, you do now - there should not be any penalties though.
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