With the tax season shortened this year by 3 weeks, the deadline to file by 31 October is just around the corner. SARS announced that it will be clamping down on taxpayers who miss the deadline to submit their tax return. Besides stating that they will impose monthly fines for late tax returns, they have even gone so far as threatening criminal prosecution and time behind bars for unpaid tax debt, just as many of us have witnessed with the recent celebrity headlines.
Their ominous slogan “pay your taxes or pay the price” is still in use, with the hope to encourage taxpayers to file their returns on time. This message doesn’t only apply to 2018 (i.e. the current year’s submission) but also to unfiled tax returns from prior years. So, you’ll need to ensure that all your old tax returns have been filed.
As we’ve reached the final couple of weeks of the tax filing season, it’s also important to stay alert and aware of the tax scams which are constantly taking place. Taxpayers may fall victim to such activities where refunds are promised, or the taxpayer is informed of money they owe to SARS. These scams come in many forms such as email, website links or unregistered tax practitioners. It’s important to know who will be doing your tax return, as filing a tax return is your responsibility, not your employers' or anyone else’s. SARS is very strict in this regard. For more information read our blog on Who is legally allowed to file your tax return
The penalty amount that will be charged depends on a taxpayer’s taxable income and can range from R250 up to R16 000 a month for each month that the non-compliance continues. For example, assume a taxpayer files 6 months late, the minimum filing penalty they will receive is a hefty R1, 500! (Note: there will also be interest charged at 9,25% per annum on tax debt due).
Given these circumstances it’s important that you stay up to date with your taxes and file all your old returns. The longer you wait the higher the price you pay. If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law and need to file old tax returns, TaxTim is here to help.