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FAQs: Tax Refunds

As the tax season is approaching, many of our users are asking whether or not they will be due a tax refund. If you have all of your tax certificates handy, you can use our tax refund calculator to check.

It’s important to understand that you will only receive a tax refund if you have paid too much tax for the year. This may happen if you are able to claim certain deductions, which will reduce your taxable income-you, can read more about these here. If you worked for less than a full 12 months of the tax year, may also receive a refund. For further details, you can read our blog here.

Below are some FAQ we’ve received from taxpayers about refunds.

1. I donated to a PBO in my community; I am still waiting for the certificate. Can I include it on my return and then send the certificate to SARS when I receive it?

You need the PBO number to complete your donation on the return. Should they have given you that number already, it would be best that you wait for that certificate as SARS will request proof of donations that you made.

2. My investment matured and instead of using the money, I reinvested it into a Retirement Annuity Fund (RA). I was told that I will receive a tax refund for doing this - is this right?

You will receive a tax deduction for the RA contribution, but it will be limited to 27.5% of your taxable income (and capped at R350 000). If the amount that you paid into the RA exceeds this limit, the excess will be carried over to the next tax year and you’ll receive a tax deduction for the remaining amount (up to next year’s limit).

For more on retirement and tax, you can read our handy guide.

3. I use my Apple MacBook for work as my employer was not able to buy this device for me. Can I depreciate this on my tax return?

You may depreciate the device on your return, however you still need a letter from your employer confirming that they need you to use the device for work and the invoice to confirm the price you paid and the date you bought it.

Please refer to our Wear and Tear Calculator to help with your workings.

4. I received a sign on bonus with a specific period of employment attachment to it. I was supposed to work there for 3 years, but after 1 year, I resigned. They have recovered this bonus from my last month salary but they did not refund me the tax, the HR officer says I should claim it back from SARS, do you know where on the return I should do this?

According to Section 11(nA) and 11(nB) one is able to claim any amounts that you received and paid tax on as a deduction as long as you claim it in the same tax year that you paid back the amount. In your case, if you paid back the bonus during the 2020 tax year, you can include this amount in the other deductions section on your return, it should be called “AMOUNTS REFUNDED IN TERMS OF SECTION 11(nA) AND 11(nB)” on your SARS eFiling return.

5. If I only worked for 10 months and 10 days continuously for the same employer what effect does this have on my tax payable? I was unemployed for the balance of the tax year.

It may mean that you have overpaid tax for the year and can claim a refund when you submit your tax return. This is because the monthly tax you pay is based on an annual calculation, which assumes you work for 12 months. For more details, you can read our blog here.


Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

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