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I've never been audited before. Why now?

This is a common area of concern for many taxpayers who don’t know why they are asked to submit documents to SARS after they file their tax return.

Our Helpdesk receives comments such as:

  • ‘my tax return is very simple’
  • ‘it has barely changed from last year’
  • ‘I have never been audited before, why now?’
  • ‘I am not even due a refund!’
  • ‘I did the return myself on eFiling last year and was not audited. Now I am using TaxTim and am being audited for the first time’

Does this sound familiar? Unfortunately, even if some (or all) of the above applies to you, there is still a chance that SARS will audit you. 

This is because being asked to submit documents to SARS is much more common than you may think.  Roughly 25% of tax returns are audited and judging by what we’ve seen in 2019 it looks like this percentage may even be higher!

In previous years, it was relatively easy to predict when SARS would request documents. For example, a home office claim would almost always trigger an audit and the same could be said for the submission of additional medical expenses. Similarly, if you completed the Local Business or Rental Income section of your tax return, you would also be audited. While these areas still usually result in a request for documents, we are seeing many audit requests for bog-standard tax returns, which have no usual deductions or obvious audit triggers. This leads us to conclude that the selection for audit seems to be more random and certainly more frequent than ever before.

One point to note is, that if you are due a tax refund, it is seemingly more likely you will need to go through the pain of submitting your documents prior to receiving your pay-out.  What’s more, if you are claiming expenses against Rental Income or Freelance Income, then this too raises your chances of being audited.

For further details on what happens after you submit your documents, read our blog here on SARS waiting periods and Additional Assessments.

Fortunately, if you have used TaxTim to submit your tax return, we make the document submission process much simpler. You can easily follow our easy step-by-step instructions to submit your documents to SARS via our website.

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