Your 2018 tax return checklist

– Paul Damant, CFP (Director, Cornerstone Asset Management and Managing Director, Cornerstone Financial Services Group of Companies)

Contrary to popular belief, tax returns don’t have to be as complicated and stressful as many perceive it to be. However, with tax return season officially open, the thought of submitting a tax return might make you feel worried, anxious and unsure of what paperwork you need in order to submit your tax return properly. If this sounds familiar, this article is for you.

The first thing you need to do is relax, although tax returns can be daunting, it’s not nearly as bad as you think. The next and probably most important step is to get all your tax documents and paperwork ready.  To get you going, Cornerstone Financial Services Group has put together an easy to use checklist to help you keep track of these documents and tackle your tax returns with confidence.

Your IRP5

Think of your IRP5 as your VIP pass to tax season – you can’t get anywhere without it. Your IRP5 indicates your annual taxable income and any deductions from your salary, whether it be via your employer or other external deductions. Nine out of ten times your employer will provide you with your IRP5, however you can also get it directly from SARS’s website using your e-filing profile.

Medical aid tax certificate

If you belong to a medical aid, a portion of your monthly contributions is tax deductible, but to claim it you need a medical aid tax certificate. In most cases, your medical scheme will provide you with your tax certificate pro-actively prior to tax season opening. If they don’t, you can simply contact them and request it or get it online. If you have made the great choice of appointing a qualified healthcare broker, they will ensure that your tax certificate is sent to you as soon as they become available.

No healthcare broker? Click here to learn more about Cornerstone Healthcare Consulting Services.

Your pension fund, provident fund or retirement annuity (R/A)  contribution information

All pension and provident funds as well as retirement annuity (RA) contributions are tax deductible, up to 27.5% of your annual taxable income (max. annual contribution of R 350,000.00). Here, there are two ways in which you can get a tax return:

  • Pension or provident fund and R/A contribution via your employer/payroll

If your pension or provident fund contribution reflects on your payslip or IRP5, you will not receive a tax certificate from your provider when submitting your tax return. This is because you are already receiving the tax deduction benefit each month. In other words, you are still getting the same tax benefits, but instead of a lump sum each year, you receive it monthly.

Does your employer not offer a pension fund? Click here to learn more about how Cornerstone Employee Benefits will engage with your employer to assist in the establishment and effective management of your employer owned pension fund.

  • R/A contributions in your personal capacity

If you contribute to a R/A each month in your personal capacity, you will need a tax certificate from your provider to receive your lump sum tax return. Most providers will proactively send you your tax certificate, but if they don’t you can simply contact them and request it.

Having a qualified financial advisor will greatly ease the process of ensuring that you receive the correct tax return documents. Click here to learn more about how Cornerstone Financial Planning can assist you with your retirement planning.

Tax certificates from any NGO’s that you have donated to

All donations to registered NGO’s are tax deductible up to 10% of your annual taxable income. For you to get the tax benefit from these donations, you will have to submit a tax certificate indicating the amount you donated as well as the NGO’s registration number. You can get this certificate by contacting the organisation you support and requesting it. If you donated to an charity that is not a registered NGO, you will not be able to get a tax return.

Log book for travel claims

If you receive a travel allowance from your employer, or if you travel a lot for work, you may qualify for travel claims. It is vitally important that you keep a log book that includes the following information:

  • Kilometres travelled (weekly odometer readings would suffice)
  • The amount you spent on fuel, the dates you purchased fuel and the odometer reading on those dates as well as all fuel purchase receipts.

Remember, if you do not have a completed log book, you will not be able to claim any travel expenses. If you prefer a less manual way of keeping a log book, you can opt for with new digital innovations like GPS Logbook that takes all the hassle out of keeping an accurate, detailed and SARS-compliant logbook.

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