If, like me, you are not one of the most diligent or attentive members of civil society, you probably wouldn’t have realised that our official tax season opened on the 1st of July. That means you’ve had over three weeks to get your tax returns sorted out and off your shoulders. But don’t worry – you have plenty of time left. Here are the dates that you need to diarise:

•     Tax Season 2012 runs from 1 July 2012 to 31 January 2013.

•    The deadline for taxpayers who submit their tax returns manually by post or by dropping it off in a SARS drop box, is 28 September 2012.

•    The deadline for all taxpayers who submit their returns electronically at a SARS branch is 23 November 2012.

•    Non-Provisional taxpayers who submit their returns via eFiling also have until 23 November 2012.

And, if you’re freaking out about the infamous long queues at your nearest SARS branch, don’t stress! Our national revenue service has really stepped up and made boring and tedious tax returns a thing of the past. Okay, they’re still boring as hell, but at least now you can do it by a few clicks of your mouse!  Here are the new elements that SARS will be introducing during the next couple of weeks:

1. New eFiling Application (eFiling App)
SARS will introduce an eFiling Application that allows taxpayers to complete and submit their ITR12 tax returns and receive their assessments on new devices like iPads, Smartphones and tablets.

2. Cellphone Filing
SARS will introduce an eFiling mobi site (sarsefiling.mobi) where taxpayers can complete and submit their ITR12 return on their cellphones. The taxpayer can visit www.sarsefiling.co.za and the phone will be routed to the mobisite.

3. Help-You-eFile
They have also utilised cutting edge technology to develop a service called Help-You-eFile in which taxpayers can get access to a SARS Contact Centre agent while they are eFiling their return who will guide taxpayers through the process. With the consent of the taxpayer, the SARS Contact Centre agent will be able to access the taxpayer’s browsing session and view exactly what the taxpayer is doing on their screen, enabling them to guide and help the taxpayer step-by-step in completing and submitting their ITR12 return on eFiling.

4. SARS on YouTube
This initiative by SARS is an educational tool and was made available to taxpayers on 2 July 2012. Already over 13 000 taxpayers have visited the SARS YouTube channel at youtube.com/sarstax to get assistance  on how to register for eFiling, how to complete and submit returns on eFiling and how to submit supporting documents to SARS.

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Have you done your tax returns?