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What to do if your second ITA34 assessment says you now owe SARS money

If you have ever survived a SARS audit, you may have been issued with a "revised assessment" or second ITA34 that doesn't make much sense. It probably says that you now owe SARS some money, despite being due a refund. Don't be alarmed though, if you read lower down the new ITA34 you will find that in fact you are still due a refund, only it is probably smaller than before.

For example:

First IT34A (before audit):
SARS says: "Your assessment has been concluded and reflects an amount refundable to you of R-16 636.10"
SARS owes you R16.6k as per your assessment. The minus sign means that according to their records you owe a negative amount i.e. SARS owes you.

Second IT34A (after audit):
SARS says: "Your assessment has been concluded and reflects an amount payable by you of R10 662.00."
You think "Oh no!", but ignore this and continue reading to the bottom...
SARS continues: "The current balance on your assessed account is R -5 974.10."
Now that SARS has completed the audit, they have made changes to how much you should be refunded and now agree to refund you only R5.9k.

This is pretty confusing, even for chartered accountants! The reason is because SARS performs a revised assessment as if they have already paid your refund, even if they have not actually done so.

The best way to get clarity and see the combined total (what is the net amount actually owed to you) is to request a new ITSA - a Statement of Account. This can be done by following the easy steps below on SARS eFiling, visiting your local SARS branch or calling the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 SARS (7277).

  1. Click on the RETURNS tab in the to menu of eFiling;

  3. Click SARS correspondence;

  5. Click Request Historic IT notices;

  7. Click Statement of account; and

  9. Select your date range.

Follow these steps and you'll be able to view a summary of any tax amounts owing or refunded to you. The final amount will be the overall refund. Phew! Now go take the rest of the day off!


Lucky Johan says:
13 September 2012 at 10:52

Dear Sir/Madam
May i please view my statement of account my tax no is 2924086149

Richard says:
15 October 2012 at 13:28


My wife was owed roughly R600 by SARS last year according to their final assessment but she never received any refund. Do they withhold payments below a certain threshold or not?

Also, I'm receiving substantially less (less than half) of my refund during my previous tax year, yet nothing much has changed from my side. I claim my personal car for business use (approximately the same mileage and personal to business ration as previous year.)

Did SARS change anything that could be affecting this? I see my tax credits for year are substantially less, which almost account for the difference.

TaxTim TaxTim says:
15 October 2012 at 22:18

Hi Lucky,

Were you able to log onto eFiling and view your Statement of Account?


TaxTim TaxTim says:
15 October 2012 at 22:33

Hi Richard,

SARS withholds payments when there are outstanding returns or they have requested supporting documentation for review. Did you receive a request? The only threshold they stick to is if your refund is under R100. I suggest requesting an ITSA statement of account, it will show you if you have any returns outstanding.

If your income and expenses stayed the same you should actually have a higher refund than usual due to the higher tax tables. If you would like to send your ITA34 to I would be glad to have a look.


Loraine says:
9 November 2012 at 12:40

Hi I got a sms from sars saying the following.

Thank you for filing your 2010 tax return Assessment Result: R437 Account Balance: R939 Selected for Audit: No

What does this mean. Do I owe R437 or R939?

TaxTim TaxTim says:
11 November 2012 at 23:25

Hi Lorraine,

This means that you owe SARS R939. For the 2010 year you owed SARS R437, but overall the amount owed is R939 for all the years of assessment.


Concerned says:
21 November 2012 at 14:47

After completing my income tax on efiling I was told that I owe 2K in taxes, can I claim that money from my employer as they pay the tax on my behalf or am I stuck with the Nice-Surprise"

TaxTim TaxTim says:
21 November 2012 at 18:05

Hi there,

Unfortunately you cannot claim this from your employer as for whatever reason SARS has shown the R2k liability. This could be due to a number of reasons and you should be able to see why based on your ITA34 assessment received after you submitted.

Let me know if you have any questions on the assessment.


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