Who does and does not have to submit a tax return in 2024

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The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has notified taxpayers of the periods within which income tax returns for the 2024 filing season must be submitted.

The dates are:

  • Individual taxpayers (non-provisional): Monday, 15 July to Monday, 21 October 2024.
  • Provisional taxpayers: Monday, 15 July 2024 to Monday, 20 January 2025.
  • Trusts: Monday, 16 September 2024 to Monday, 20 January 2025.

SARS will issue auto-assessment notices to individual (non-provisional) taxpayers from 1 to 14 July.

Companies, approved public benefit organisations, and approved recreational clubs must submit their income tax returns within 12 months from the date on which their financial year ends.

Notice 4918 published in Government Gazette 50741 of 31 May 2024 also sets out which taxpayers do and do not have to submit a tax return. (SARS subsequently published Public Notice 4948 on 7 June 2024 to correct the amounts payable by an individual taxpayer.)

Who does not have to file a return?

A natural person (individual taxpayer) or an estate of a deceased person is not required to submit a return if his or her gross income consists solely of one or more of the following:

  • Remuneration (other than retirement lump sums) not exceeding R500 000 from a single source and employees’ tax has been withheld for that remuneration.
  • Interest from a South African source (excluding a tax-free investment) not exceeding:
  • R23 800 for a person younger than 65 years;
  • R34 500 for a person who is 65 years or older; or
  • R23 800 for a deceased person’s estate.
  • Dividends where the individual was a non-resident throughout the year of assessment.
  • Amounts received or accrued from tax-free investments.
  • A single lump sum received from a pension fund, provident fund, pension preservation fund, provident preservation fund, or retirement annuity fund and employees’ tax has been deducted in terms of a tax directive.

Please note that the above exemptions do not apply if an individual:

  • was paid or granted certain allowances or advances relating to business travel, accommodation, or subsistence;
  • was granted taxable benefits relating to the use of a motor vehicle; or
  • received or was granted any amount for services rendered outside South Africa.

Who must file a tax return?

Individual taxpayers who meet any one of the following conditions are required to submit a tax return:

  • A resident and carried on any trade (other than solely as an employee).
  • A non-resident and carried on a trade in South Africa (other than solely as an employee).
  • A resident and made capital gains or incurred capital losses exceeding R40 000.
  • A non-resident and had capital gains or losses from the disposal of any asset.
  • A resident and held foreign currency or owned assets outside South Africa that had a total value of more than R250 000 at any stage during the year.
  • A resident to whom any income or capital gains could be attributed from funds in a foreign currency or assets outside South Africa.
  • A resident and held any participation rights in a controlled foreign company.
  • A resident who had a taxable turnover.
  • At the end of the tax year, you were:
  • under the age of 65 years and your gross income exceeded R95 750;
  • between the age of 65 and 74 years and your gross income exceeded R148 217; or
  • 75 years or older and your gross income exceeded R165 689.

If you were a non-resident and earned South African-sourced interest income, you must submit a return if:

  • you were present in South Africa for 183 days in total in the 12 months before receipt or accrual of the interest; or
  • the debt from which the interest arises is connected to your permanent establishment in South Africa.

Estates of deceased persons that received gross income must submit a return.

Notwithstanding any of the above, you must submit a return if the South African Revenue Service requests you to do so.

Companies, other juristic persons, and trusts

All resident trusts must submit a tax return.

A resident company or a resident juristic person must submit a tax return if, during the year of assessment, it:

  • had gross income of more than R1 000;
  • held assets with a cost of more than R1 000 or liabilities of more than R1 000 at any time;
  • derived any capital gain or incurred any loss exceeding R1 000 from the disposal of an asset; or
  • had taxable income, taxable turnover, an assessed loss, or an assessed capital loss.

Every non-resident company, trust, or juristic person must submit a return if it:

  • carried on a trade through a permanent establishment in South Africa;
  • derived South African-sourced income; or
  • derived any capital gain or incurred any loss from a disposal of an asset.

Every South African incorporated or stablished company that is not a resident in South Africa because of a double-taxation agreement must submit a return.

Disclaimer: The information in this article does not constitute financial planning, legal, or tax advice.

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