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SARS e-filing 2020


SARS e-filing 2020

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What is Auto-assessment?

In August 2020, SARS will automatically assess the tax return due by a number of tax payers. If you’re included, then you’ll receive an SMS letting you know that you’ve been auto-assessed. The SMS will also include how much you owe or is owed to you by SARS.

If you’re auto-assessed, you’ll receive an SMS in late July and in August – The SMS should direct you to eFiling or the SARS MobiApp to either “Accept” or “Edit” the return. If you have not been directed to either of the above two e-locations – be careful.

The SMS should look something like this:

Tax Ref: ******9201. Your 2020 Year of Assessment tax calculated results is -RXXX, based on the information at SARS disposal. You can accept or edit your return through the SARS digital channels. Failure to do so may result in SARS raising an estimate assessment. For more info, visit the SARS website on

(Note: If the calculated tax amount has a minus sign in front of it, this means that SARS owes you. If there’s no minus, then you owe SARS.)

So I got the message, what should I do?

Well, first thing is to make sure that the info SARS has submitted on your behalf is actually correct. You’ll be able to do this by checking all your tax certificates against the info that SARS has inserted. You should’ve already received those certificates from your employer, medical aid scheme, bank etc. If not, give them a call. 🤙🏾

If all is good and you accept?

  • SARS will then submit the return on your behalf.
  • If SARS owes you money, you should get it in the bank account saved on your SARS account within a few days.
  • If you owe money to the tax man, then you’ll be able to make the payment on eFiling, via EFT or via the MobiApp by the due date given to you.

What if you don’t agree?

  • You don’t have to accept! You can edit the return with the correct and updated info.

If you run into some exceptional circumstances, you can always give SARS a buzz or go to the branch to clear things up. If you have to do this, my advice is to try go/call as early as possible!

What if I have results outstanding?

You may still receive some communication if you have results outstanding. But in this case, it would rather be an SMS telling you why you will not be auto-assessed, or notifying you to submit any outstanding returns.

But what if I’m not registered for eFiling or don’t have the app?

Registering isn’t too hard a process. It’ll save you the hassle of having to call SARS (and wait for who knows how long), or worse, having to go into the branch!

If you are not registered for eFiling or you would like to download the SARS MobiApp, SARS has some videos that help with that:

 How to register for efiling

How to register for the SARS MobiApp

But where does SARS get the information to do this?

SARS gets your info from your employers, medical aid scheme, financial institutions, etc. They then use this to do the assessment. You can actually go through your auto-assessed return to see exactly what’s included. If there is any info missing/incorrect (eg. Donations, office expenses etc.) include this.

What if I never receive an auto-assessment?

That’s not a problem; many people won’t receive an SMS. You would then have to submit your own returns in September.

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Benjamin is an Actuary working at a major financial services firm. He has experience in the valuation, design and distribution of wealth and investment products. Benjamin is insatiably passionate about teaching and empowering minds. All views expressed are Benjamin's own and neither reflect nor are influenced by the views of affiliated companies.

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