Got a threatening text from Sars? Here’s what to do

Sars has issued a notice, after an SMS threatening legal action against taxpayers for non-compliance.

If you’ve received an SMS from the South African Revenue Services (Sars) in the last couple of days, don’t panic – as Sars has advised to disregard it.

Earlier this week, many taxpayers were shocked to receive a threatening text message [seemingly] from Sars, warning them of pending criminal action, due to failure to submit their income tax returns.

The SMS instructed taxpayers to file their returns within 10 days to avoid further administration penalties, as well as running the risk of a summons being issued against them.

ALSO READ: Sars auto-assessments: ‘Do not just accept’ – expert

‘Do not respond’

Sars has since asked taxpayers who’ve received the infamous message to completely ignore it, and further apologised for the inconvenience.

“If you’ve received a message regarding outstanding returns and the intended prosecution thereof, please do not respond or react,” Sars said in a public notice.

While promising to provide further correspondence on the matter, the revenue collector advised taxpayers to ensure their tax affairs were in order.

Tax season and digital advancements

The 2023 tax season for non-provisional tax payers began on 7 July, recently concluding on 23 October.

Meanwhile, provisional tax-payers have until next year, 24 January, to file their income tax returns.

As part of its digital advancements, Sars introduced some new features to its online system this year to simplify the filing process.

Most notably, Sars’ auto-assessment presented a hassle-free tax returns option for eligible taxpayers, by automatically checking their records to determine whether they were due to get a refund.

The system auto-assessed taxpayers based on information received from employers, financial institutions, medical schemes, retirement annuity funds and other third-party data providers.

Upon receiving notification of auto-assessment, taxpayers had the option to review it online, or on the Sars mobile app. If they were happy with the outcome, and a refund was due – they’d simply have to wait for 72 hours for the funds to be deposited into their registered bank account.

Taxpayers who weren’t satisfied with the results of their auto-assessment had the option to amend and file their returns on e-filing or the Sars mobile app.

The Citizen reached out to Sars for more information, and will provide further updates upon receiving a response.

ALSO READ: ‘Sars needs to play catch up,’ says Kieswetter as tax collector goes digital

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