The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has streamlined the tax return process to make it more convenient for taxpayers. One of the key features introduced is the SARS auto-assessment system. This system is designed to simplify tax filing by pre-filling tax returns using information SARS has on record from employers, financial institutions, and other third-party data providers.

If you are unsure about how to check your auto-assessment status for 2024, this guide will walk you through the steps in a clear and straightforward manner.

Unpacking the SARS Auto-Assessment

Before diving into the step-by-step guide, it’s important to understand what auto-assessment is and why it matters. Auto-assessment is a process where SARS pre-populates your tax return using data they have received from various sources. This means that for many taxpayers, the tax return process becomes quicker and easier, as most of the information is already filled in by SARS.

Benefits of SARS Auto-Assessment

  1. Time-Saving: The auto-assessment reduces the time needed to complete your tax return.
  2. Accuracy: With data directly from employers and financial institutions, the chances of errors in your tax return are minimized.
  3. Convenience: You can review and submit your tax return from the comfort of your home.

Related: SARS eFiling 2024: Everything You Need To Know

Step-by-Step Guide to Checking Your SARS Auto-Assessment Status

Here is a detailed guide to help you check your SARS auto-assessment status for the 2024 tax year.

Step 1: Gather Your Information

Before you start the process, ensure you have the following information at hand:

  • Your SARS eFiling login details (username and password).
  • Your ID or passport number.
  • Access to a device with internet connectivity.

Step 2: Access SARS eFiling

  • Visit the SARS eFiling Website: Open your web browser and go to SARS eFiling.
  • Login: Enter your username and password to access your account. If you do not have an account, you will need to register first.

Step 3: Navigate to Your Tax Return

  • Select ‘Returns’: Once logged in, go to the ‘Returns’ tab on the main menu.
  • Choose ‘Personal Income Tax (ITR12)’: Select the option for your personal income tax return.

Step 4: Check for SARS Auto-Assessment Notification

Step 5: Review Your SARS Auto-Assessment

  • Check Pre-Populated Data: Review the information that has been pre-filled by SARS. Ensure that all the details are correct, including your income, deductions, and credits.
  • Compare with Your Records: Compare the auto-assessment with your own records to ensure everything matches.

Step 6: Accept or Edit Your SARS Auto-Assessment

  • Accept: If all the information is correct, you can accept the auto-assessment and submit your return.
  • Edit: If there are discrepancies or missing information, you can edit the return. Make sure to save any changes you make.

Step 7: Submit Your Return

  • Submit: Once you are satisfied with your auto-assessment, click ‘Submit’ to file your tax return.
  • Confirmation: You will receive a confirmation message from SARS once your return has been successfully submitted.

Step 8: Follow-Up

  • Assessment Result: SARS will process your return and send you an assessment result. This will indicate whether you owe any additional tax or are due a refund.
  • Payment or Refund: If you owe tax, make sure to pay by the due date to avoid penalties. If you are due a refund, SARS will process it and transfer the amount to your bank account.

Related: Guide to Using SARS eFiling for Your 2024 Tax Returns

Tips for a Smooth SARS Auto-Assessment Experience

  • Update Personal Information: Ensure that your personal details such as your address, phone number, and email are correct in the SARS eFiling system. This helps in receiving timely notifications and correspondence.
  • Employer Information: Verify that your employer has submitted accurate and up-to-date information regarding your income and deductions to SARS. This is especially important if you have changed jobs or had significant changes in your salary.
  • Bank Details: Make sure your bank account details are correctly registered with SARS for any potential refunds. An incorrect bank account can delay your refund process.
  • Income and Deductions: Keep records of all sources of income and eligible deductions throughout the year. This includes pay slips, interest statements, medical aid contributions, retirement annuity contributions, and any other pertinent documents.
  • Login Regularly: Make it a habit to log into your SARS eFiling account periodically, especially during tax season, to check for any new notifications or updates.
  • Email Alerts: Set up your email notifications on the SARS eFiling portal to receive alerts directly to your inbox. This ensures you are promptly informed about any new developments or actions required on your part.
  • SARS Mobile App: Consider downloading the SARS Mobile App for convenient access to notifications and updates. The app can be a handy tool to keep track of your tax affairs on the go.
  • SARS Helpline: The SARS helpline is available to answer any questions you might have. The helpline can provide guidance on navigating the eFiling system, understanding notifications, and resolving any discrepancies.
  • Tax Practitioners: Consult with a registered tax practitioner if you need professional help. Tax practitioners are knowledgeable about tax laws and can provide valuable assistance in ensuring your tax return is accurate and compliant.
  • Online Resources: Utilize the online resources provided by SARS, including guides, FAQs, and instructional videos. These resources can help you understand the auto-assessment process better and resolve common issues.
  • Community Forums: Participating in online tax forums can also be beneficial. These forums allow you to ask questions and share experiences with other taxpayers who might have faced similar issues.
  • Digital Records: Keep digital copies of all your important tax documents. This makes it easier to upload any required documents to the SARS eFiling system and ensures you have backups.
  • Physical Files: If you prefer physical copies, maintain a well-organized filing system. Label and date your files for easy access.
  • Annual Review: Conduct an annual review of your tax documents to ensure everything is in order before tax season begins. This can help you identify any missing documents and obtain them in time.
  • Tax Workshops and Webinars: Attend SARS-organized workshops and webinars that provide updates on tax laws and filing processes.
  • SARS Website: Regularly visit the SARS website to stay updated on any changes in tax policies, filing deadlines, and other relevant information.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Who qualifies for auto-assessment by SARS?
A: Taxpayers who have straightforward tax situations, such as single sources of income (like salary) and simple deductions (such as retirement contributions), are typically eligible for auto-assessment. SARS will notify eligible taxpayers via the eFiling portal.

Q: What if I find errors in my SARS auto-assessment?
A: If you find any errors in your auto-assessment, you can edit the pre-populated information on your tax return. Make sure to review all details carefully and correct any discrepancies before submitting your return.

Q: Can I dispute the SARS auto-assessment if I disagree with it?
A: Yes, if you disagree with the auto-assessment, you can submit a dispute through the SARS eFiling portal. Provide all necessary supporting documentation to substantiate your dispute.

Q: How long will it take to receive my tax refund?
A: The time it takes to receive a refund can vary, but with the auto-assessment process, refunds are generally processed faster. If there are no discrepancies or issues, you can expect to receive your refund within a few weeks.

Q: Is my personal information secure in the SARS auto-assessment system?
A: Yes, SARS employs strict security measures to protect your personal information. The eFiling portal is designed to ensure that your data is secure and confidential.

The SARS auto-assessment system for 2024 is designed to make tax filing easier and more efficient for South Africans. By following this step-by-step guide, you can confidently check your auto-assessment status and complete your tax return with ease.

Remember to review your information carefully and ensure everything is accurate before submitting your return.