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Navigating your way around your IRP5

Understanding your IRP5 / IT3(a)

Received your IRP5 or IT3(a) but unsure what it all means? Here’s a quick introduction to help you understand this tax document.

Personal details:

Your IRP5 starts with your personal details. While these details won’t override what SARS has on record, it’s important to check them and update any outdated information with your employer.


Your IRP5 will display source codes for different types of income:

  • Codes starting with 36 are for incomes such as salary (3601), commission (3606), contractor income (3616), bonus (3605), or foreign employment income (3651, 3652).
  • Codes starting with 37 are for allowances, like travel allowance (3701, 3702, 3703).
  • Codes starting with 38 are for benefits, such as employer pension (3802) or medical aid contributions (3801).

If you see a code starting with 39, it indicates a lump sum received during the tax year. If you don’t recall requesting a retirement fund withdrawal, check with your employer.


If you or your employer contributes towards a pension (4001), medical aid (4005), provident fund (4003) or retirement annuity fund (4006), these deductions will show here.

Note that these amounts should not be included in the "Additional Retirement Fund Contributions" section of your annual income tax return (ITR12). This section is for additional contributions made by yourself to the fund above what you already contributed via your salary deductions.

Tax paid:

If your income for the tax year was above R95,750, or if you worked part of the year or had income from commission or contractor’s income, you will see an amount next to code 4102 (PAYE). PAYE (Pay As You Earn) is also known as 'employees tax'.  It is an amount your employer would deduct from your salary before they pay it to you. They will then pay the PAYE over to SARS before the 7th day of the following month. 

Your employer will also deduct 1% for the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) from your salary (except for straight commission earners who don't contribute to UIF). The maximum UIF deduction is R1,77.12 for incomes above R17,712. This deduction is shown next to code 4141 on your IRP5.

Employers are required to contribute to a Skills Development Levy (SDL) unless their total salaries are less than R500,000 for the tax year. This contribution appears next to code 4142 on your IRP5.

Medical tax credit:

If you contributed towards a medical aid via your employer, your IRP5 should show a Medical Tax Credit next to code 4116. If there’s no amount shown but code 4005 is listed under your deductions, query this with your employer so they can make a correction for you.

Reason for non-deduction of PAYE:

Employees might not be required to pay tax if their income is below the tax threshold, they were based abroad while earning the income, or they are commission earners with a tax directive. In such cases, your employer will enter a reason code (01-09). You can review the list of reasons here.


This section lists the months you worked for your employer during the tax year. If you worked for the employer for more than a year, this IRP5 will only account for the relevant 12-month period.

Tax directive number:

If you received or transferred a lump sum, or resigned from a retirement fund, a tax directive number should be listed. To ensure that your assessment is not delayed by SARS, please take the time to compare the tax directive number on your IRP5 to the number showing on your tax directive application your employer or the fund should have made for you.

if you need any further help, please contact our help desk

Examples of IRP5 formats:

IRP5 documents come in various formats, but most follow a similar layout.

OPTION 1: SARS format





Didn't find your IRP5?

There is a chance that your IRP5 does not match the formats above. If it doesn't, please contact our helpdesk and we can assist you further. 

You might also be looking at your payslip, and not your IRP5. Your payslip is what your employer sends you every month, and is NOT the document you need for completing your tax return. If the document in front of you says things like Pay Date and Nett Pay, but not Employee Income Tax Certificate and IRP5/IT3(a), then it is likely that you are viewing a payslip. You will need to ask your employer for your IRP5.


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