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Five Top Tax Return Tips

  06/24/12 12:40, by Len, Categories: Announcements, Personal Financial Management, Tax Optimisation, Risk Management, Stress

Source - News Item by

Next month will see the start of the new tax season, which runs from the 1 July till the 30th November, covering 1 March 2011 to 29 February 2012. Filing your tax return is a cumbersome exercise but there are a few strategies you can adopt to reduce the stress of this chore:

1. Start early
Don’t wait until the final deadline to file your tax return as it will just create more stress for you. Also, waiting till the last minute is not ideal as SARS offices can be very busy at this time and the eFiling service has been known to fold under deadline demand. “Filing an income tax can be a surprising amount of work. If you are due a refund, the sooner you file, the sooner you’ll get your money. And if you have underestimated your tax contribution, you may be able to save substantially on penalties and interest payable if you submit early,” advises Johan Swart, tax manager at Legal & Tax.

2. File online
Filing your tax return online can save you lots of time and SARS’ eFiling service is convenient, secure and easy to use. The added benefit is that you can do your tax return online at any time. “Plus, if you use eFiling you have until 23 November to submit your return. If you file manually by post or SARS drop box, you must file by 28 September. If you are new to eFiling, register now and spend some time learning how it works. That way, your eFiling profile will be ready when filing season starts and you’ll know what to do,” adds Swart.

3. Get your supporting documents ready
Gather all your supporting documentation together in the event that SARS asks for it in an audit. Supporting documents may include:
• Your IRP5 tax certificate from your employer.
• An income tax certificate from your medical aid scheme.
• A list and the receipts of medical expenses not covered by your medical aid scheme.
• A tax certificate for your contributions towards a retirement annuity fund.
• A detailed logbook specifying your business trips and travel costs for the period.

4. Be honest
It is illegal to lie on your return by inflating your expenses or not declaring your correct income. If you think the chances of you getting caught are slim Swart reveals that there has been a substantial increase in random tax audits by SARS accompanied by severe penalties.

5. Need help? Ask a tax professional
It’s possible to do your tax return yourself, but there are times when you may need a professional to help you out. You could contact the SARS call centre on 0800 00 7277 or find a tax expert to ensure you do your return correctly. “A professional tax consultant may also be able to help you to identify legal ways to reduce the amount of tax that you pay each year,” adds Swart.

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