Taxpayers will have until 31 October to submit their tax returns, which is three weeks shorter than usual and will increase efficiency according to acting South African Revenue Services (Sars) commissioner, Mark Kingon.

“A shorter filing season allows additional time for Sars, taxpayers and the tax fraternity to deal with return verifications before most taxpayers go on the December holiday break. Often there are delays with taxpayers having to respond to our queries and requests over the holiday break. The quiet period after the first three months of tax season has now been removed resulting in efficient use of our resources,” Kingon put forward as rationale for the alteration.

Sars does not require natural persons to file an income tax return if, at the very least, their annual gross income consists solely of remuneration from a single source (i.e. employer) which does not exceed R350,000 and PAYE has been withheld accordingly. However, Sars has been known to raise an assessment based on an estimate or refrain from paying out a refund due to non-submission of a return which was below the above-mentioned R350,000 limit.

The change will impact all individual taxpayers who are non-provisional taxpayers using the eFiling platform, and provisional taxpayers who file their returns at a branch. Failure to submit a tax return within the deadline may just lead to the possible imposition by Sars of administrative non-compliance penalties.

I believe Sars will be collecting more revenue through penalties, the reasoning for shorter season is not satisfactory in my opinion.