Daily Archives: July 4, 2017

IRIN launches new stream of Geneva-based policy reporting

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new stream of Geneva-based policy reporting, which will complement IRIN’s field journalism from crisis zones around the world by shining a light on trends in financing of humanitarian assistance, the aid refor…


JOHANNESBURG, South African Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel says the government will be introducing through the Cabinet process amendments to the country’s Competition Act to as to change the mandate of the Competition Commission to give it…

South African Revenue Services on 2017 Tax season

Tax season 2017 now open

Tax Season 2017 officially opened on Saturday, 1 July 2017 for eFilers, and today for branch filers. Taxpayers can now commence completing and submitting their 2017 personal income tax returns for the 2016/17 tax year.

Tax Season is the single biggest annual engagement between ordinary citizens and South African Revenue Services (SARS).

Last year during Tax Season, SARS received 6.31 million income tax returns. Tax Season is an opportunity for taxpayers to reconcile their personal income and tax-related deductions with SARS.

This allows SARS to assess if there were any factors that were not accounted for over the tax year, thus ensuring that the taxpayer is compliant.

For the bulk of personal income taxpayers, July to November is the period to complete and submit their tax returns. Over the past few years, SARS has tried to make the process even easier for those wanting to comply and ‘pay their fair share’.

The user-friendly eFiling system, Contact Centre, mobile tax units which visit remote areas, helpful services such as Help-You-eFile, the Contact Centre call-back facility and our friendly staff at our branches have all contributed to improving taxpayer engagement with SARS.

To ensure that taxpayers are prepared, below is some helpful information to make Tax Season even easier.

Not everyone needs to file an income tax return. Taxpayers do not have to submit an income tax return if:

Their total salary for the year before tax is not more than R350 000

They only receive employment income from one employer for the full year of assessment

They have no other form of income such as car allowance, business income, taxable interest, rent or income from another job

They don’t have any additional allowable tax deductions to claim such as medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions and travel expenses.

Avoid disappointment and ensure that you have all your documents ready:

Proof of income such as:

IRP5/IT3(a) from your employer or pension fund

Tax certificates for investment income IT3(b)

Tax Free Investments certificate(s) IT3(s)

Financial statements (e.g. for business income), etc.

Proof of deductions such as:

Medical aid contribution certificates and receipts

Completed confirmation of diagnosis of disability form (ITR-DD) if you want to claim any disability expenses

Retirement annuity contribution certificates

Information relating to foreign tax credits withheld

Travel logbook (if you receive a travel allowance or use a company car), etc.

Proof of identity: ID, passport or driving licence if you visit a branch to submit your return.

Medical deductions

Check if the information on your medical aid contribution certificate is correct. If not, contact your medical aid scheme to correct it before you file your tax return.

If your employer paid your medical scheme contributions to your medical scheme on your behalf, the amount will appear on your IRP5/IT(3)a certificate but SARS will not use this amount in calculating your assessment. You must complete the medical expenses section on your ITR12 using the information on your medical scheme tax certificate.

Medical expenditure not covered by a medical scheme that is reflected on the relevant medical scheme tax certificate must be completed in the field next to the code 4020.

Qualifying medical out-of-pocket expenses which are not reflected on any medical scheme certificate and that were not claimed from a medical scheme should be indicated next to code 4034.

Disability claims

If a taxpayer, their spouse or qualifying children have been diagnosed with a disability by a duly registered medical practitioner and they want to claim deductions, they have to provide the following information:

The date of birth of the qualifying person(s)

The severity of the disability as per the ITR-DD

The date when the most recent Confirmation of Diagnosis of Disability (ITR-DD) certificate was completed

The medical practice number of the medical practitioner who completed the ITR-DD

Where there is more than one person with a disability, detailed information per person is required.

Retirement Annuity Fund Contributions

If you want to claim deductions for retirement annuity contributions you made, you must provide the individual policy number(s) and the name(s) of the insurer(s) or fund(s) of each.

Making it easy for taxpayers to file their returns

SARS will continue to strive towards providing the best services possible to taxpayers during Tax Season. Taxpayers are encouraged to use SARS eFiling to submit their tax returns as it is the quickest and easiest way to submit a return and is available 24 hours.

eFilers requiring assistance can make use of the free Help-You-eFile service by simply clicking on the Help-You-eFile icon on eFiling and following the prompts to get access to a friendly SARS Contact Centre agent who will help them every step of the way while eFiling. This service is available during office hours.

The ever-increasing SARS footprint now extends to 53 branches nationwide, 21 Mobile Tax Units that service taxpayers in remote areas of the country and increased efficiency at the SARS Contact Centre. Our contact centre will be open from 8h00 to 18h00 during July 2017.

Beware of scams

Taxpayers are warned not to fall victim to tax identity fraud. They need to protect their taxpayer information, login name and password at all times.

SARS will never request a taxpayer’s banking details or personal details in any correspondence that they receive via post, email or SMS. SARS will not send them correspondence with hyperlinks to other websites � even those of banks.

Source: Government of South Africa

Tanzania Dam Project Said to Affect World Heritage Site

JOHANNESBURG � The United Nations has called it one of Africa’s biggest remaining wilderness areas. Now a dispute over a planned hydropower dam in Tanzania’s Selous wildlife reserve pits the country’s president against conservationists who say the project could cause irreparable damage to the UNESCO World Heritage site.

On Tuesday, a few days after President John Magufuli said the Stiegler’s Gorge dam will be built “come rain, come sun,” the WWF conservation group said in a report that the project threatens an important wetland as well as the livelihoods of more than 200,000 people in impoverished areas, reliant on fishing, that would be downstream.

The Selous, which covers nearly 50,000 square kilometers (19,300 square miles), has been under pressure from poachers who have decimated its elephant population to supply the illegal ivory market. Mining concessions and other industrial projects are also a concern as the East African nation’s campaign to boost its economy conflicts with international efforts to preserve habitats and their wildlife.

Speaking Saturday in Dar es Salaam, Magufuli said the dam and resulting reservoir will cover only about 3 percent of the Selous.

“We are not going to listen to people who speak about impacts on environment without facts on the ground,” Magufuli said, according to Tanzania’s Daily News newspaper.

However, conservationists say the project could have a negative impact on a much bigger area, for example by cutting off wildlife migration routes. The WWF has asked for an environmental assessment in line with Tanzanian law and wants the government to consider alternative ideas for generating power.

Tourism Minister Jumanne Maghembe told The Associated Press that Tanzania is a developing country and needs to use its natural resources to transform its economy.

He also said the government had long set aside 38 percent of the country’s land for wildlife conservation. “It’s too huge area, we need the project for our development,” he said.

The plan at Stiegler’s Gorge has been discussed for decades. Once completed, the project would increase Tanzania’s power generation from 1,450 megawatts to at least 4,000 megawatts, according to the Daily News.

Source: Voice of America