The 2020 filing season is upon us, so it’s time to pull out those calculators and spreadsheets and start compiling your tax returns. This is usually an arduous and sometimes stressful task, but if you know your way around tax reporting it doesn’t need to be.
People often moan about paying taxes, but remember, having to pay tax means you’ve been making money. So it really is a good problem to have! Besides, if you do your tax returns correctly and make sure that you include all the information that you’re allowed to include, often you can end up with a rather pleasant surprise.
Here are a few things that we think you should keep in mind when preparing for, or compiling your tax return:
- IRP5 – confirm that your IRP5 has been submitted and that you have received it from your employer.
- Medical aid tax certificates – these should be sent to you annually by your medical aid provider or you can request it from them.
- Ensure that you keep any invoices/receipts for additional medical costs that may not reflect on your medical aid tax certificate.
- IT3B tax certificates from your banks, investment houses (investment and trading accounts) and pension funds – these detail all interest, costs and dividends earned on your savings/investments over the year.
- Tip – Remember your annual Interest income exemption of R23,800 – this means that interest earned of up to R23,800 is not taxable (and if you’re over 65, that exemption is R34,500).
- IT3C tax certificates from your banks, investment houses (investment and trading accounts) and pension funds – these detail all sales and purchases of shares giving you your Capital Gains Tax profits to be used when submitting your annual return.
- Tip – Remember here that as an individual you have an annual exemption of R40,000 per annum.
- Logbooks – for those of you with travel allowances, ensure to have prepared and submit your annual travel logbook.
- If during the year you have driven two different cars, then both logbooks will be needed.
- Details of the vehicle(s) that need to be included:Make and model.
- Cost price when purchased (SARS can also request the invoice for the vehicle).
- Number plate (registration number).
- Tip – To speed things up, ensure your opening and closing odometer readings are shown. You can also provide a summary of the full logbook at the top of the page – Opening Km, Business Travel, Private Travel, Closing Km.
- Commission earners – remember that logbooks will be needed to correctly calculate the costs allowed to be expenses for tax purposes when building your annual Income Statement.
Active traders and full time investors – if you are an active trader or a full time investor, you will be able to claim back a portion of number of the expenses that you incur in order to trade and derive income. These include:
- Internet and telephone bills.
- Portion of your rent/bond expense – proportional to the amount of floor space your office takes up in your house.
- Portion of your water and electricity bills – same proportion used as with your rental/bond expense.
- Depreciation on computers and office equipment used to trade and generate income.
- Consumables like coffee and paper, etc.
- Subscriptions to news and information services and software licenses.
- Salaries paid to supporting staff.
- Tip – you will need to provide a detailed report and sample invoices, statement and documents for each of the expenses you are claiming, as well as a consolidated report showing all claimed expenses.
- Tip – if you have purchased assets that you use for work purposes such as a laptop, financial calculator or even textbooks/handbooks that are needed for you to do your job and generate earnings – you can use these items to claim wear and tear (Depreciation) on your personal Income Tax Return, even if you are a salaried employee.