Still haven’t submitted your tax returns? Here are some reasons to hurry up.

Still haven’t submitted your tax returns? Here are some reasons to hurry up.

– Sipho Matiwane, Head of Cornerstone Tax and Accounting

Tax returns season is closing very soon and although many South Africans have done their civil duty of submitting their tax returns, there are countless others who haven’t. If you are reading this article, it’s safe to assume that you are among those who still needs to submit your tax returns and might need a little push to get it done.

At Cornerstone Tax and Accounting Services, our main objective is to keep our clients safe and compliant to all tax and accounting rules and regulations. It is with this philosophy in mind that we compiled some of the repercussions that you could face if you fail to submit your tax returns and why you should hurry up so that you can avoid them.

What if I am exempt form submitting a tax return?

If you believe that you are exempt of having to submit a tax return, we urge you to take another look at the criteria below as published by BusinessTech earlier this year. Please make double sure that you meet all of them. If not, you will still be required to submit a tax return before the end of October.

The taxpayer does not need to submit a return if all the following criteria apply:

  • The taxpayer’s total employment income / salary for the year of assessment (March 2017 to February 2018) before tax was no more than R350,000;
  • Employment income / salary for the year of assessment was received from one employer;
  • The taxpayer has no other form of income (e.g. car allowance, company car fringe benefit, business income, taxable interest or rental income or income from another job);
  • The taxpayer does not want to claim for any additional allowable tax related deductions or rebates (e.g. medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions, travel expenses, etc).

You could face harsh penalties and fines…and jail

Bearing in mind that failing to submit your tax returns in time is considered a violation of the law, it should come as no surprise that punishment will follow. Fines and penalties for late submissions could range between R250.00 and R5000.00 per month per submission.

Furthermore, to improve compliance, SARS has already prosecuted 18 taxpayers for outstanding tax returns. Some were fined up to R20 000.00 while others were imprisoned but all of them now have criminal records that will follow them for life as reported by BusinessTech earlier this month. Failing to do your tax returns is no joke, it could have dire consequences.

 You could be missing out on a chunk of cash

For many, a tax refund is a saving grace each year that helps to fill the gaps in debt, home maintenance and savings. If you have a medical aid, contribute to and RA or pension fund or make donations to registered NGO’s, you could be eligible for a substantial tax refund that could be a massive financial boost.

If this isn’t enough motivation to get your tax returns done as soon as possible, maybe the following point will do the trick.

SARS has the power to garnish your bank account and/or salary

Yes, it’s true. If you owe SARS money or if there are any outstanding fines or penalties due to late or no submission, SARS can contact your bank and instruct them to pay over any outstanding fees from your account. In addition to this, they may also obtain an order of the court and instruct your employer to garnish your salary to collect outstanding amounts. If this seems ridiculous to you, it’s important to remember that paying tax and submitting your tax return annually is a civil duty and responsibility and failing to either is considered a crime.

If you require any assistance with your tax returns, whether it’s personal or commercial, click here to get in touch with Cornerstone Tax and Accounting Services today. You can also find us on LinkedIn and Facebook and feel free to share this article with friends, family and colleagues.

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