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Why have I received a SARS refund, before filing my tax return?

You can STILL file a tax return and maximise your tax refund.

This year, SARS has once again ‘auto-assessed’ a large number of taxpayers. They have done this using data that they have received from 3rd parties, such as employers, financial institutions, medical schemes and retirement fund administrators. 

If you have been auto-assessed, you should receive an email or SMS from SARS within the first few weeks of July. If your auto-assessment shows that you are due a tax refund, we are seeing SARS pay out these refunds within a few days of issuing the auto-assessment.

Remember, your auto-assessment will not include all of your tax deductions which you may be able to claim, nor any additional income (e.g freelance, rental) you may have earned. For more on auto-assessments, please read here.

Even if SARS paid your refund already, you can still go ahead and submit a tax return, if you have additional expenses to claim or extra income to declare. You can only resubmit your return within 40 days from the date of your original auto assessment was issued by SARS. Should you miss this date, you can only get SARS to take your deductions / income into account by filing a dispute with SARS, please see our Guide to lodge a dispute with SARS

After you submit a return, it is likely that SARS will request supporting documents to verify the amounts you claimed or declared in your tax return. If they are satisfied with your documents, they should issue you a new assessment (ITA34) and in the case where you claimed expenses (e.g. home office, donations, wear and tear, additional medical bills, travel) they should pay you out again. Bonus!

IMPORTANT: It is your responsibility to ensure you report all of your income and expenses accurately to SARS.  If you accept your tax refund and fail to file a tax return and declare some of your income, SARS could levy a penalty of up to 200% of the tax payable (plus interest!) should they find out about it later.



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