When you’re younger, you hear people moaning about taxes and think it’s one of those things that is surely overblown.
Then you become a functioning member of society, land a job, and when payday arrives each month, you watch a sizeable portion of your wages get chopped off.
Let’s not talk about the efficiency of how our government spends those taxes, either.
As laborious as tax season can be, there’s always the chance that you could be due a refund, and money back from SARS, however little, is always welcome.
At the same time, you could also be slapped with a SARS audit, which is enough to send shivers down the spine.
Deep breath, exhale – there is no need to panic just yet.
The first thing to consider is that a SARS verification is different to a SARS audit. The former is a value comparison between the amount shown in your ITR12 (your tax refund) and the documents that are used to determine this amount, which is done to ensure you receive the correct refund.
A SARS audit, according to CFSG, is:
…an examination of the financial and accounting records and/or the supporting documents that you have submitted to determine whether you have correctly declared your tax position to SARS.
To put it in layman’s terms: it’s to make sure that you are being truthful about your income and that any and all document you have submitted (payslips, Section 18 certificates etc.) are real and not forged or tampered with.
You may be required to upload further supporting documents, before SARS accepts the submissions you have made.
There’s also the relatively unlikely option that SARS could conduct a field audit, but this is usually easily avoided if you submit the requested documentation within the timeframe stipulated by SARS.
For those who prefer to have their taxes handled by professional tax practitioners, such as Galbraith | Rushby, they’ll be able to handle all of this for you.
Here is the really important part – a SARS audit doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve done anything wrong:
The truth is that SARS can randomly select any taxpayer for an audit. Think of it as spot checks to ensure that your documents, information and income and tax paid are all correct and in the right place.
You haven’t been charged with anything, and nobody is coming to kick the door down if you’ve been truthful on your returns.
Whilst some audits can be handled relatively promptly, there is a chance that the process could take as long as 90 business days, so you may be waiting a good while before you see that money hit your account.
Our condolences, but hopefully once everything is in order, you’ll be on the receiving end of a sweet, sweet refund.
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