2023 Tax Season: A Comprehensive Guide for Filing Your Tax Return in South Africa

2023 Tax Season: A Comprehensive Guide for Filing Your Tax Return in South Africa

The 2023 tax season in South Africa commenced on July 7, 2023, and the deadline for individual taxpayers to submit their tax returns is October 23, 2023.


Filing taxes can be a daunting task, especially for first-time or inexperienced filers who may be concerned about owing money to the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

However, SARS has implemented various digital technologies to simplify and expedite the process.

Understanding Tax and Collection:

SARS collects taxes on all income and profits generated within the country, serving as a significant source of government revenue.

Tax assessment covers a 12-month period from 1 March to 28 February of the following year for both individuals and trusts.


Step 1: Submit Your Tax Return Online:

The easiest method to file a tax return is by registering on SARS eFiling, where your profile automatically retrieves all relevant tax information, including your income tax return form (ITR12) and statements of accounts from third-party providers (IRP5/IT3a).

For added convenience, SARS also offers a mobile application called the SARS MobiApp, allowing tax submission on your mobile phone.

Step 2: Registering for eFiling:

To register for eFiling, visit www.sarsefiling.co.za and upload the required documents, which include a copy of your ID, proof of residential address, a bank statement not older than three months, and your latest IRP5/IT3(a) income tax certificate displaying your tax reference number.

Step 3: Determine Whether You Need to Submit a Tax Return:

SARS stipulates that not everyone is obligated to submit a tax return annually.

If you earn less than R500,000 annually and work for a single employer throughout the tax year, you may be exempt.


However, there are scenarios where submission is still necessary, such as if you changed employers or had multiple sources of income.

Step 4: Essential Information for Your Tax Return:

To ensure a smooth filing process, prepare the necessary documents, which may include your IRP5/IT3(a) tax certificate, medical aid tax certificate (if applicable), retirement annuity tax certificate (if applicable), details of your vehicle (for travel allowance/company car), statements of other income (e.g., business or rental income), and Section 18(A) certificates for charitable donations.

Step 5: Resolving Tax Return Discrepancies:

In case any information on your IRP5/IT3(a) documents is incorrect, directly contact the relevant service providers to rectify the details before submitting the tax return.

Step 6: Contacting SARS Helpdesk:

For any queries related to your individual tax number, changing banking details, or password reset, contact the SARS Contact Centre at 0800 00 7277 (SARS), open from 08:00 to 17:00 on weekdays (excluding weekends and public holidays).

Alternatively, you can seek assistance online at www.sarsefiling.co.za.



Filing your tax return in South Africa has become more convenient with the introduction of digital technologies by SARS.

By following these guidelines and utilizing the available resources, individuals can successfully submit their tax returns online before the deadline on October 23, 2023.

It is advisable to refer to the SARS website or consult a tax specialist like TaxTim for further details and professional assistance.


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