Business & Finance

What is Tax Season?

One often hears the term ‘tax season’ bandied about, which sends shivers down the spines of many. But are there circumstances in which a sole proprietor does not have to submit a tax return at all? By Kevin Watson.

Typically the term ‘tax season’ refers to the period in which individual tax returns need to be submitted, as all individuals have a tax year ending on the last day of February every year. Companies and Close Corporations however can have a tax year end at the end of any month of the year.

Without going too much into the detail, we’ll quickly outline the requirements for the different types of tax payer.

Individuals and Sole Proprietors

As mentioned, the tax year end for South Africa is 28 February. You thus need to complete your tax return and post or drop off at SARS by 26 September 2014, if you are using the paper returns. If you want to do it electronically at a SARS branch then 21 November 2014 is your deadline. Many people however now file their tax returns on e-filing. If you use e-filing and are a non -provisional tax payer then make sure you submit by 21 November 2014 and if you use e-filing and are a provisional tax payer then you have until 30 January 2015.

So who needs to submit a tax return and who is a provisional tax payer? If ALL of the following apply to you, you may not have to submit an Income Tax Return:
• Your total employment income is not more than R250,000 for the year;
• You only received employment income from 1 employer during the year;
• You don’t have any allowable tax deductions to claim e.g. medical, retirement;
• You have no car allowance or any other form of income e.g. interest, rent.

A provisional tax payer generally is any person who derives income in a form other than remuneration so typically includes sole traders, partners, members’ of a CC or directors of a company.

Rental on an investment property and interest on investments are examples of non- remuneration income. It is up to you to determine whether you are a provisional tax payer and failure to submit a provisional tax return will incur penalties and in most cases interest. Provisional tax returns are due on 31 August and 28 February every year.

Companies & Close Corporations

A company or Close Corporation can have their year- end at the end of any month in the calendar year. Every registered taxpayer is required to submit an annual tax return within twelve months after the end of the financial year of such taxpayer.

In addition to annual returns, every business is required to submit provisional tax returns. These returns are required to be submitted six months prior to the year end and at year end and must contain estimated figures of tax for that period. Any payment must accompany the return.

Smaller companies may also select to be on either Turnover Tax, where the annual turnover of the business in below R1 million and Small Business Corporation Tax for businesses with Turnovers less than R20 million per annum. Obviously terms and conditions apply.

There is never as good a time as the present to sit with your tax advisor and really understand your tax obligations and opportunities.

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