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SARS is asking for more documents. Are they auditing me?

For most people upon submission of their year-end income tax return, either nothing much will happen or a refund will be due, this being paid back within a matter of days. However in a small number of cases SARS requires extra documentation or proof to be submitted so that they can verify that everything you submitted in your tax return is correct. Don’t be afraid, although many people consider this an “audit” it isn’t nearly as frightening as that and doesn't mean you have done anything wrong. A true audit would be SARS requesting years of past documentation and opening up for examination all your tax affairs from previous years.

When you are requested to submit supporting or additional documentation, you will receive an email from SARS with a letter attached requesting the documents they need within 21 days (3 weeks). If you miss that deadline you are sometimes allowed a further 21 days, but it's best to submit during the first period. Simply put, all the documents you used to enter in the amounts in your ITR12 income tax return are the ones you would need to submit. SARS essentially wants proof that the amounts you entered are in fact true.

In order to submit these documents to SARS, you have four options:

Option 1: If you are a TaxTim user, simply login and click on the tax return that needs documents uploaded for. Click on the button that says "Submit supporting docs". Upload your documents.

Option 2: Use SARS eFiling online. When you log into your eFiling profile, there will be a new section below your return saying, “documents for review”. Here you can upload or scan in all the required documents for SARS. Try to avoid uploading big files and upload them one at a time as the system can be slow or unreliable at times. Only upload files smaller than 2mb and ideally a pdf. Make sure you have all your documents uploaded or scanned before clicking the Submit button as you cannot go back and submit a second time. If you left something out you would then need to go into a SARS office or post them the additional documents, so be sure to upload EVERY document required before submitting.

Option 3: Visit the nearest SARS office and speak to a consultant, or drop your documents in a SARS drop box.

Option 4: Post your documents in an envelope to this address:

SARS will then review these documents and hopefully within 0-90 working days, you will receive the potential refund due to you. SARS may come back asking for more documents so be sure to provide them with everything first time around to avoid this and get your return processed faster.

If you are one of the few people randomly selected for review, don’t worry. Be patient and follow the procedures and you’ll remain both tax compliant and in good standing with SARS.



Stephen Perelson says:
13 August 2012 at 17:07

I had to submit all my supporting documentation to SARS last year. Was quite something to find everything and even then I missed an important document before submitting via e-filing.

Turns out the person reviewing the documents noticed something was missing and e-filing was updated to allow me to resubmit the supporting documentation again. This process took less than a week if I remember correctly. Bottom line is don't panic.

Cee says:
10 September 2012 at 18:17

This is my first tax return as I have only started working in 2011. SARS requested additional information. I submitted my medical aid tax certificate (the only thing I claimed because I have private medical aid not through my employer) and the letter which requested I submit the additional information. This was done via e-filing. I am so stressed because I didn't know that I had to submit my IPR5 as well. I can't take off work to go to SARS. What should I do? This has been such an unpleasant experience.

TaxTim TaxTim says:
11 September 2012 at 8:54

Hi Cee,

There is no need to panic! SARS will accept your other supporting documentation as they probably already have your IRP5 on the system. What you can do is phone their call centre and all them to reopen your ability to submit documents and then you can upload your IRP5. That should sort everything out.


Kelebot says:
27 September 2012 at 16:21

Hi Tim,

I would like to find out from what range one can pay tax.

Thank you,

TaxTim TaxTim says:
27 September 2012 at 18:52

Hi Kelebot,

You pay tax on income over R63 556 and then at different rates depending on your income level. Have a look at our blog for the tables.


Miekels says:
20 October 2012 at 2:46

Hi. I submitted my return today and were also asked to submit supporting docs. I am not sure if it is because my estate is insolvent or what and if i am not allowed to claim. I didnt upload my slips etc. should i have done this as well? I claimed R5000 (according to tax calc online i had to het a pay back pf R5000)but after submitting it showed that i owed them that amount. If all docs are approved and ok will this be switched back as a credit? I am in a panic as i have never been reviewed before and i have been a taxpayer for more than 12years! This was the first time i did it myself... And if i captured dething incorrectly will they allow me to fux this?

TaxTim TaxTim says:
21 October 2012 at 0:56

Hi Miekels,

You can always request a correction on eFiling if you think you have made an error and resubmit your return. When asked to submit supporting documentation you should always upload everything supporting any incomes or expenses you included in your return. What document did you receive saying you owed SARS - an ITA34? Was there a negative next to the amount?


Nosipho says:
25 October 2012 at 9:38

Hi Tim,

I am one of the few individuals that never filed correctly and therefore submitted for 2007-2012. It took me over a year to get a copy of the irp5 from my previous employer from 2006 and therefore my filing was never complete. All has been submitted now and assessed and the statement of account says that I am being audited or docs are being verified.

I'd like to know if SARS notifies you when your docs are with an auditor or they don't let you know and due to the 2007 irp5 will that make my wait longer?

Hope my question is clear! Awesome Blog!!

TaxTim TaxTim says:
25 October 2012 at 21:46

Hi Nosipho,

You would be surprised to know that you are actually one of many who have not filed correctly over the last few years. Great though that you are up to date now as staying tax compliant is very important!

SARS will notify you when they require supporting documents and then if they need any further supporting documentation. Otherwise what usually happens is you will either receive your refund or be issued with a revised ITA34 requesting payment. While they are with the auditors unfortunately it is a waiting game.

Thanks for the compliments and please let me know if I can answer anymore questions.


Steve Smith says:
22 November 2012 at 6:57

Hi Tim
I have been asked for supporting documents in regards to my home office and depreciation of equipment. I am a journalist, and do all my freelance writing from home. Equipment I use for this is my camera equipment and my laptop, which I am depreciating over a 3 year period.
What supporting documents can I give for things like this?

TaxTim TaxTim says:
22 November 2012 at 19:24

Hi Steve,

This is a tricky one as SARS are quite strict here. You can provide the invoices for the equipment which should be enough for SARS. With regards Home Office expenditure you can provide a detailed calculation of how you got to the amount using the apportionment method of the size of your office to the actual property. This should satisfy them with regards your claim.


Natasha21 says:
22 November 2012 at 20:01

Hi Tim
This really is an awesome forum :)
i am hoping that you can help me with a question I have, I have gotten an email from sars requesting supporting docs, however I never received my IRP5 from my previous employer, what can I do now?

Thanks so much

TaxTim TaxTim says:
22 November 2012 at 21:06

Hi Natasha,

Thanks very much for the kind words!

You can attempt to send in the other supporting documents and see if SARS query this or you would have to go to a police station and get a sworn affidavit stating you didn't get your IRP5 from your employer. SARS are very strict in situations like this.

I hope that helps?


ChrisC says:
22 November 2012 at 21:17

Tim, hi
I received an email request for supporting documentation within seconds of filing my return. This is the first time in 5 years of eFiling. The problem is that the attached PDF from SARS is 'blank'? - How should I proceed?

Yours in last minute filing as usual - Chris

PS: Thanks for the blog and your time :)

TaxTim TaxTim says:
22 November 2012 at 21:45

Hi Chris,

That letter just details what sort of documents you would need to submit as part of the audit process, it isn't the most detailed of letters however. Basically you will need to submit any documents that back up the amounts you included in your ITR12 Tax Return, such as your IRP5, medical aid certificate, Income Protection, Pension Fund, Retirement Annuity Fund documents, your IT3b interest and dividend certificates from the banks, investment houses and IT3c certificates detailing any shares sold. If you made any donations you must include those certificates as well.

I hope this helps:


ChrisC says:
23 November 2012 at 8:44

Tim - hi...

I just checked that PDF again on my laptop (Windows) and it opened with content. I had submitted my return using the SARS App on my iPad. I subsequently checked the PDF on the iPad too and that is obviously why it was blank!?

Thanks for your response though :) - Chris

Tami says:
9 December 2012 at 11:04

Hi Tim

I received a request from SARS for additional supporting docs for a year that I submitted a zero return. During the year in question I received a payout from a company that I worked for 14 years ago, but as I'd stopped working for a number of years, moved 3 times and closed down my bank account, I never received the payout (and I was unaware of the 2010 payout due to me).

SARS has a copy of the IRP5 from the employee benefit scheme company reflecting this payout 2010, an amount of R5000.00. I was only aware of this 2010 payout when I phoned them to check on my tax status. SARS refused to give me a copy of the IRP5 that they have and the employee benefit scheme company have me stuck in endless automated telephone loops to find out about this payout.

In short, what supporting docs should I give SARS and how do I prove a zero income? These are the docs they're asking for:

- IRP5/IT3(a) employee income tax certificates in respect of remuneration income and lump sums from your employer/pension fund
- IT3 certificates (for example IT3(b) and (c)'s from financial institutions in respect of interest and capital gains)
- Medical scheme certificates and receipts
- Income Protection and retirement annuity certificates
- Your travel logbook and/or invoices or detailed calculation in respect of travel claims
- Any other documents relevant to your declaration.

TaxTim TaxTim says:
10 December 2012 at 16:45

Hi Tami,

Firstly, I feel for you going through this what must seem like endless process. In order to prove zero income you would need have a sworn affidavit from the police station stating you no longer work nor receive an income from any source. You may need to have you previous employer write a letter stating you resigned/retrenched etc at a certain date. If you do receive interest from the bank etc and have any of the documents mentioned above then you should submit that as well.

I hope that helps?


Mogau says:
14 December 2012 at 16:04

Hi Tim,

I was flagged for auditing. what is SARS auditing and how long does this process normally take?

TaxTim TaxTim says:
18 December 2012 at 9:23

Hi Mogau,

The process can take anywhere from 7 days to 9 months depending on the nature of the audit. Usually the turn around time is 21 working days, but you would need to be patient as there is no absolute time frame.


Lindsay says:
24 December 2012 at 9:42

Hiya Tim - firstly great web-site. Not sure if you are monitoring this so close to Christmas, but here goes. My husband has been requested to submit additional documents. Here is the situation - on the medical aid certificate it had an amount of unclaimed amounts, which my husband entered on his tax return - we didn't realise that he would need receipts for this amount - we know we have paid it as we have no outstanding accounts anywhere. My husband is in such a panic now that he is going to be in trouble. If we don't have the receipts and just the medical aid certificate will they just correct the return to have that amount removed? Thanks so much, my husband is really worrying.

TaxTim TaxTim says:
27 December 2012 at 8:52

Hi Lindsay,

Thanks for the kind words and I hope you had a Merry Christmas!

Firstly, are you able to get the receipts and proof of payment for these amounts? SARS, although has the right to ask for them, often doesn't and processes the return. If SARS is asking for supporting documentation now then submit the Medical Aid certificate and it should be alright. In the meantime see if you can go to the pharmacy and doctors and try and get proof of payment in case SARS asks for more documents. Given the amount often actually aren't significant enough to affect your actual tax liability, SARS often will just disallow the claim.


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