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Everything you need to know about the 2021 tax season

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced that filing season for individual taxpayers will run from 1 July to 23 November 2021. With COVID-19 lockdown regulations in place, SARS continues to provide digital alternatives for filing: taxpayers can file their tax returns via eFiling or the SARS MobiApp.

However, taxpayers who cannot file online can do so physically at a SARS branch but by appointment only. The online booking system is available on the SARS website

TAX return submission DATES

Channel Opening date Deadline Type of taxpayer
Electronically (via eFiling or the SARS MobiApp) 1 July 2021 3 November 2021 Taxpayers identified for auto-assessment will receive text messages to either accept or edit their auto-completed returns on eFiling as well as non-provisional taxpayers who were not auto-assessed
Manually at a SARS branch (by appointment only) 1 July 2021 23 November 2021 All taxpayers unable to file electronically
Electronically (via eFiling or the SARS MobiApp) 1 July 2021 31 January 2022 Provisional taxpayers, including trusts
Who must register for income tax?

People (individuals) whose earnings are above the tax threshold are obliged to register for income tax.

For the 2021 year of assessment, the tax threshold amounts are as follows:

  • R83 100 for individuals younger than 65
  • R128 650 for individuals 65 or older but younger than 75
  • R143 850 for individuals 75 or older

You do NOT need to file a tax return if your income consists solely of

  • employment income from one employer for the year (March 2020 to February 2021) of not more than R500 000 before tax (gross income) and employee tax was withheld,
  • interest (other than interest from a tax-free investment) from a source in South Africa not exceeding R23 800 if you are below the age of 65 years and R34 500 if you are aged 65 years or older,
  • dividends and you were non-resident throughout the year (March 2020 to February 2021) and
  • amounts received or that accrued from a tax free-free investment.

The above exclusions may not be applicable if you received certain employment allowances or taxable fringe benefits.

How to register
  • Visit the SARS website and follow the prompts
  • Register via the SARS MobiApp available on the App Store for Apple devices and Google Play for Android
  • Register through your employer via SARS eFiling
  • Register at your nearest SARS branch; however, visits to SARS branches will be limited during the lockdown period
2021 auto-assessment process

SARS introduced the auto-assessment process in 2020 in response to COVID-19 to simplify the tax-filing process and to remove the need to visit branches. SARS will continue with this process in 2021, and if you are selected to be auto-assessed, you will be directed via SMS to eFiling or the SARS MobiApp to view your return. If you accept the auto-assessment results, you do not have to complete a tax return because SARS would have done that for you.

Supporting documents

When you submit your tax return, you may be asked to submit certain documents. If your return is audited, you will be asked to provide these documents for verification. You need to ensure that all your supporting documents are available for at least 5 years after you submit your return.

Supporting documents include, but are not limited to:

  • IRP5/IT3(a) tax certificate(s) from your employer or retirement fund
  • IT3(b) certificates for investment returns (interest, dividend and other income)
  • IT3(s) certificates for tax-free savings or investments
  • IT3(c) certificates which report on gains or losses after the disposal of a unit trust or other financial instruments
  • Financial statements, if applicable, e.g. business income
  • Medical aid contribution certificates and receipts for medical expenses incurred
  • Completed confirmation of diagnosis of disability form (ITR-DD form) to claim additional disability medical expenses incurred, if applicable, and available on the SARS website
  • Retirement annuity fund contribution certificate(s)
  • Travel logbook(s) and other documents in support of business-related travel expenses
  • Any other relevant income and tax deduction information
  • Bank account confirmation details
Consequences of non-compliance

The current process of electronic collection and verification of data makes it relatively easy for SARS to identify employees who are not registered for tax or have not submitted a tax return. Anybody who fails to register for tax or submit a tax return when required may be subject to administrative non-compliance penalties, ranging from R250 to R16 000 (including interest) for each month that the non-compliance continues.

SARS has the power to appoint your bank or employer as an agent to withhold or deduct any outstanding taxes or penalties from your salary or bank account, so it is possible for them to claim outstanding amounts directly from your bank or your payslip.

2021 tax table

Taxable income (R) Rate of tax (R)
R0 – R205 900 18% of taxable income 
R205 901 – R321 600   R37 062 + 26% of taxable income above 
R205 900 

R321 601 – R445 100 R67 144 + 31% of taxable income above 
R321 600
R445 101– R584 200 R105 429 + 36% of taxable income above 
R445 100
R584 201 – R744 800 R155 505 + 39% of taxable income above 
R584 200 
R744 801 – R1 577 300 R218 139 + 41% of taxable income above 
R744 800
1 577 301 and above R559 464 + 45% of taxable income above 
R1 577 300

2021 Tax rebates

Primary R14 958
Secondary (65 and older) R8 199
Tertiary (75 and older) R2 739

While every care has been taken in preparing this document, no representation, warranty or undertaking is given, and no responsibility is accepted by any entity forming part of the Standard Bank Group, its employees and agents as to the accuracy and completeness of the information contained herein or in respect of any reliance on or use thereof. The material contained in this document is sourced from the South African Revenue Service website and is for general information purposes only. It should not be considered as legal, tax or other professional advice. For detailed tax advice, you should consult your tax advisor.