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It’s that time of year again. Tax season has crept up and even though as a business owner you have many important and urgent tasks vying for your attention, filing an accurate tax return just became one of them.

Remember, it’s crucial to properly file accurate tax returns and meet the deadlines set by the South African Revenue Service (SARS). Late or incorrect submissions could result in substantial interest and penalties. It’s in your best interests to prepare accurate tax filings timeously. Here are some tips to enable you to do just that. 

Reach out to your accountant

For a better understanding of your tax obligations, including the annual ITR14 submission to SARS, it’s a good idea to speak to qualified professional. There may be a small expense involved but getting the right advice upfront can save a lot more in the long run.

The ITR14, or Income Tax Return, is a mandatory form that all registered companies must complete and submit annually to declare their income and expenses for tax calculation purposes.

If you run a sole proprietorship or partnership, you can file your ITR12 Income Tax Return and provisional tax submissions independently, but a registered tax practitioner can ensure compliance with SARS regulations and offer tax reduction advice by maximising eligible deductions.

When searching for a firm or professional, choose one registered with reputable organisations such as SAIPA, SAICA, SAIBA, or SAIT and with positive references and a proven track record serving small businesses.

Don’t miss a deadline

The best way to ensure you always stay on the right side of SARS is to ensure you meet your submission deadlines. Here are the deadlines you should diarise.

Registered Companies:

  • File a compulsory provisional tax return 6 months from the start of the financial year, and another at year-end.
  • You have the option to make a voluntary submission and top-up payment 6 months after year-end.
  • File your annual return within one year of financial year end.

Provisional Taxpayers (sole proprietors):

  • File one provisional return and make one tax payment by end of August.
  • File a second provisional payment by the end of February.
  • You can make an optional third payment by the end of September if previous payments were insufficient.
  • Tax filing season begins in early June, with a deadline of 31 January.


  • Manual submissions and payment of VAT201 must be complete by the 25th of the month.
  • Electronic submissions and payment of VAT201 must be made by the last business day of the month.


  • Submit monthly EMP201 by the 7th of the following month or the Friday before if the 7th falls on a weekend or holiday.
  • File interim EMP501 reconciliations for 1 March to 31 August between 1 September and 31 October.
  • File annual EMP501 reconciliations for 1 March to 28 February between 1 April and 31 May.

Leverage automation tools for more accurate returns

It’s not unusual for small business owners to still rely on manual methods like Excel spreadsheets and paper bank statements, bills, and receipts to manage their finances. This approach is time-consuming and prone to errors, leading to higher costs for an accountant to accurately capture transactions in a proper accounting system.

To save time and ensure accuracy, it’s recommended to capture every transaction in an electronic accounting system as it occurs. This will also simplify invoicing, tracking of outstanding payments, and monitoring expenses.

Xero’s cloud-based accounting software integrates directly into Sasfin’s B\\YOND banking platform, capturing invoices and bank transactions automatically and making it easy to generate profit and loss statements for SARS submissions. Xero can also automate payroll tax (EMP501, UIF, and ETI) and VAT submissions.

About the Author

Sanjeev Bessesar
Head: Small Business, Sasfin Business & Commercial Banking

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