Media release – 2023 Filing season for Individuals and Trusts

Jun 23, 2023 | Uncategorised

23 June 2023 – In line with the strategic objective of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) of making it easy and simple for taxpayers to meet their legal obligations, individuals (provisional and non-provisional taxpayers) as well as trusts may start filing their income tax returns on Friday 7 July 2023 after 8pm.

SARS Commissioner Mr. Edward Kieswetter said, “The submission of accurate personal income tax returns on time is important for a seamless filing season. This year, taxpayers must take control of their own tax affairs to ensure they are aware of their obligations and remain compliant.”

“SARS continues to provide enabling technology, the expanded use of data, enhanced by machine learning, algorithms and artificial intelligence.  We also continue to make progress in various aspects of online and in-person taxpayer services through an investment in our people. These enabling and service improvements are intended to ensure that there is no need for walk-in tax consultations and long queues at SARS offices,” Mr. Kieswetter said.

As a result of these enabling service improvements:


From Friday 30 June 2023, SARS will communicate directly with selected taxpayers by SMS notifying taxpayers of their auto-assessments.
Taxpayers can access the auto-assessment through any of SARS’s channels, such as the SARS MobiApp or SARS eFiling, to review and verify the completeness and accuracy of the information that resulted in the auto-assessment.
A taxpayer who has been selected for auto-assessment, may choose to accept the assessment outcome without edits, or if there is justification, may choose to edit their declaration, and resubmit it along with the necessary supporting documents.

Taxpayers who accept the assessment outcome without any edits, and who qualify for a refund, will receive it directly into their bank account within 72 hours after the notification;
Taxpayers who submit an edited declaration will be assessed on the basis of their resubmission. A revised assessment may be issued as set out below. If there is money owing to SARS, it must be paid to SARS’ Bank Account, eFiling or through the MobiApp by the stipulated date.

If a taxpayer is satisfied with the auto-assessment, they don’t have to do anything further and the process terminates at this point.
SARS wishes to implore taxpayers who have been selected for an auto-assessment to exercise patience and not visit any of our branches or call the Contact Centre to enquire about the progress. SARS will pro-actively and continuously communicate with such taxpayers.


All taxpayers who submit an edited declaration, or file a declaration in the normal way, may submit such a declaration, along with any supporting or additional information through the SARS eFiling platform. For taxpayers from the auto-assessment group, SARS will process the return and issue a revised assessment, which may result in a different financial obligation e.g. reduced refund, increased refund or payment due to SARS. All other taxpayers will receive an assessment.

In the event that taxpayers experience any difficulty with filing their returns  through e-Filing or the SARS Mobi-App, they must first book an appointment to visit a branch.

Further clarity is also provided in a number of aspects:

Objections and appeals: If not in agreement with the revised assessment, a taxpayer can initiate an objection, through the normal SARS objections process.

Non-provisional taxpayers: Non-provisional taxpayers who did not get an auto-assessment and who are required to file a return can do so from 7 July 2023 after 8 pm until 23 Oct 2023.

If all the information contained in a return is for the current year and accurate, the transaction will take no more than 10 seconds. SARS welcomes efforts by taxpayers to bring their tax affairs into compliance status. SARS will endeavour to expeditiously attend to these taxpayers who will be filing the previous years’ outstanding returns and requests their patience and understanding.

Provisional taxpayers as well as Trust submissions can start with filing a return from 7 July 2023 after 8 pm until 23 January 2024.

Taxpayers, not selected for auto-assessment are urged to wait for the email and SMS and not to visit SARS branches during the first week before 7 July 2023.

Mr. Kieswetter said the introduction of auto-assessments, was one of many filing improvements that bears testimony to SARS’ commitment to build a smart, modern organization with unquestionable integrity, trusted and admired by all. In delivering such an important service, SARS is helping to build a capable state for the social and economic development of our country and its people – the Higher Purpose of SARS.

Importantly, the use of technology and data has enhanced the ability of SARS to refine and improve its resources to detect instances of non-compliance. Taxpayers must not inflate their expenses and under-declare their income to obtain impermissible refunds as this will make the taxpayer potentially guilty of fraud.

SARS will make it hard and costly for taxpayers who intentionally attempt to claim impermissible expenses or understate their income, by imposing harsh penalties. In addition, there will be administrative non-compliance penalties for those taxpayers who do not adhere to the deadlines of this year’s Filing Season.

This year SARS will allow taxpayers, who did not agree with the auto-assessment outcome, to file an amended return until the normal filing season deadline, 23 October 2023. This is a change from the 40 days allowed last year.

SARS has had engagements with various associations, including Recognised Controlling Bodies to refine the system. This is done in recognition that SARS works with and through partnerships to ensure that taxpayers are enabled to meet their legal obligation in the most efficient manner.

SARS wishes to thank employers and third-party data providers who have met their 31 May 2023 submission deadline. This step will enable employees to have a seamless and easy transaction with SARS. The employers and third parties who are non-compliant are making transacting with SARS challenging for their employees and will be pursued for transgressing the law.


Taxpayers who wish to visit a SARS branch must first make an appointment. They can do this by:

Sending an SMS to 47277 (iSARS) with the word Booking (Space) ID number/Passport number.
Dialling *134*7277# free of charge on their cellphone and choosing the eBooking option.
Going to the SARS website and clicking on the “Book an Appointment” icon. Complete the online form.

For further information please contact

#FilingSeason2023 #YourTaxMatters –

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