05 Jul 2019

SARS launches 2019 filing season with “broken” e-filing system

SARS have launched the 2019 filing season with a fresh new e-filing interface and mobile application for the tax year. Unfortunately they have again launched a system that is only partly functional. On the first day of filing season the system was down for 5 hours. Errors including not pre-populating data, incorrectly assessing taxpayers as unemployed, being a few of the problems experienced.

The commissioner of SARS seems to be very far removed from the reality of what users experience as he states in a television interview that taxpayers could complete their tax returns in 3-5 minutes. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Further to major system downtime, a new issue has arisen. This being SARS inflating and incorrectly assessing taxpayers’s income with regards to investment income and interest earned. The problem is linked to the third party data system that is used to collect taxpayer information. Banks and financials institutions are required to submit earnings to SARS using an online third party data system. On additional assessments SARS is raising incorrect assessments based on poor third party data. In some instances this information is even double the actual earnings. This is problematic for taxpayers as they now have to lodge an objection with SARS. The cat and mouse game then starts where SARS have 21 days and then 21 days to resolve the queries thereby unduly delaying taxpayer refunds.

Luckily the taxpayer has rights under the tax administration act and SARS is required is provide a findings letter or reason when they raise these assessments.

Unfortunately this is where filing your own tax return can be problematic and waste a tremendous amount of your time and cause unnecessary frustration. Enter the tax practitioner. 🙂 We deal with this every day and are used to SARS processes such as where SARS demand payment based on an incorrect assessment. We can assist you with these matters.

As part of our standard QA process we have software that checks every assessment and we personally scrutinise the assessments for errors. If errors are found we will automatically and immediately lodge an objection with SARS. Normally taxpayers only approach practitioners when something goes wrong which means they can sometimes act too late as objections need to be lodged within a prescribed period. The way that the tax act is structured means the taxpayer has to detect the error and notify SARS. They are not going to notify you of an error on the assessment.

If you feel that you have been incorrectly assessed please contact us.