From 1 July to 4 July, SARS aims to issue auto-assessments to taxpayers who are due a refund.
The rest will be issued in batches up to 24 July.
Timing is Everything
If you receive an auto-assessment, you will have just 40 working days to request a tax return on TaxTim (or eFiling), complete and submit it. If you take no action within the 40 working days, your auto-assessment will become FINAL.
Request for Extension
‘Reasonable Grounds’ before 61 working days
If you need more time to sort out your tax affairs, you can request an extension on eFiling before your 40 workings days is up. You will however, need to provide SARS with valid reasons (i.e., ‘reasonable grounds’) as to why you need more time to file. If you manage to convince SARS that an extension is well and truly justified, you will have another 40 working days to submit a return, once your initial 40 working days has expired.
This means that if you receive your auto-assessment on 1 July, you need to submit your tax return by 29 August. If this is not possible, you must request an extension from SARS before 29 August. If SARS allows it, you will have an additional 40 working days to submit a return, which means you would need to submit by 21 October. This will be your final deadline - no further extensions will be granted.
If you miss the deadline to request an extension by 29 August, you will have a further 21 working days to submit a request for extension (i.e., by 27 September). If you miss this deadline, you are going to find yourself in a tight spot. You have been warned!
‘Exceptional Circumstances’ after 61 working days
Once 61 working days has passed since you received your auto-assessment, you won't be able to file a tax return unless you can provide ‘exceptional circumstances’ to justify a delayed request for extension. Unfortunately, ‘being too busy’ or ‘away on holiday’ is unlikely to get much sympathy from a SARS official.
Take Control of your Tax Affairs
It is more important than ever, for taxpayers to familiarise themselves with the SARS deadlines for auto-assessments so that they don't miss the chance to file a return. We suggest you submit your return within the 40 working day deadline and avoid requesting extensions from SARS (rather avoid the extra admin!).
Remember, your auto-assessment may not include ALL of your tax deductions, so you could end up overpaying tax if it becomes your FINAL assessment.
Please read here for more on auto-assessments.