21 April 2019


SARS goes paperless for 2018 tax season

by: SAnews.gov.za and Semphete Correspondent   date: 06 july 2018

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has gone paperless as from the 1 July 2018 when the tax season for individuals opened and has encouraged taxpayers to use eFiling for all their tax transactions where possible.

“SARS will remove drop boxes for the submission of income tax returns and other paper documents.
“As from 1 July 2018, SARS will also no longer provide certain printed forms at its branches, including forms used to register as a taxpayer, as a VAT vendor, as an employer, as well as forms used to apply for tax directives,” said the revenue collection service.

The transactions, together with the filing of income tax returns, payments and the uploading of supporting documents, can all be done electronically on eFiling with the support of Help-You-eFile and the contact centre if taxpayers get stuck. 

“The increase in digital transactions means a significant saving on paper, printing and courier costs for both SARS and the taxpayer. This will also reduce traffic in branches - one of SARS’ objectives for Tax Season 2018,” said the service. 

SARS has also announced that the 2018 tax filing season has been shortened by three weeks, in a bid to improve efficiency. It will end on 31 October. 
“A shorter filing season allows additional time for SARS, taxpayers and the tax fraternity to deal with returns verifications before most taxpayers go on the December holiday break,” said acting Commissioner Mark Kingon on Monday.

A digital and paperless approach was initiated more than a decade ago when the internet-based eFiling system was made available for electronic submission of personal income tax returns.
Drop boxes were, however, provided in addition to the branch and electronic channels for taxpayers who chose to submit their returns and documents manually.

To accommodate larger files on its eFiling system, SARS has increased the size threshold of files from 2 megabytes to 5 megabytes.

SARS has assured taxpayers switching to eFiling that they will receive support.

“Taxpayers will still be able to visit a SARS branch if they need an assisted filing experience. However, they are encouraged to migrate to electronic submission. Original paper documents will be handed back to the taxpayer for safekeeping,” said SARS.

SARS has also encouraged taxpayers to use the 24-hour eFiling service at www.sarsefiling.co.za, which is the most convenient method for the majority of transactions with SARS.

There are also email addresses available on the SARS website for taxpayers to interact with SARS, as well as the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277. 

What you need to know to file your tax return
Have a tax reference number: You can only get your tax reference number from your employer, on the notice of registration you received from the SARS, by visiting your nearest SARS branch with your ID for authentication purposes or from eFiling if you are registered as an eFiler. You need to login and locate your number on the income tax work page.
You don’t need to file a tax return if ALL these apply to you: 
(1) your total employment income or salary for the year (March 2017 to February 2018) before tax (gross income) was not more than R350 000. 
(2) You only received employment income for the full year of assessment (March 2017 to February 2018) from one employer.
(3) You have no car allowance, company car, travel allowance or other income (e.g interest or rental income).
(4) You are not claiming tax related deductions such as medical expense and retirement annuity contributions other than pension contributions made by your employer.
Important dates
Type of Taxpayer
Manual – post or at SARS branch
21 September 2018
Non-provisional and provisional
eFiling or electronic filing at SARS branch
31 October 2018
31 January 2019

Top tip: If you have your Identity Number and Tax Number you can now also call the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277; press 3 (for a tax related enquiry) and then select 1 to find out whether you are required to submit an Income Tax Return (ITR12) this Tax Season.