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How to file for tax in South Africa – First time steps

Updated: Sep 14, 2021

Who has to pay personal income tax in South Africa

If you earn less than R350 000 for a full year from one employer (that’s your total salary income before tax) and have no other sources of additional income (for example, interest or rental income) and no deductions that you want to claim (for example medical expenses, travel or retirement annuities), then you don’t need to submit a return. If you, however, have expenses that you can claim, you might miss out on a refund if you opt not to submit.

What time of year are South African tax filing submissions due

The Individual income tax return filing dates are announced every year. The due date is usually between September and November. During this window, your income information for 1 March the previous year to end Feb the same year is due.

For example: If it is Sept 2022 and the tax filing window opens, documentation for income earned 1 March 2021-28 Feb 2022 is due.

How to register

1. Register online

Go to

Select 'Register Now'

Follow the prompts

Request a Notice of Registration – it will reflect your income tax registration number.

You can also register for SARS eFiling on the SARS MobiApp and follow the same steps. Once registered, you can login to SARS efiling during the open submissions window and file the return using the SARS caredesk service as guidance. Alternatively, HDS Cloud Accounting can administer it on your behalf. Simply leave your details here (link to contact us page) and we will contact you.

2. Registering through your employer – Find out from your employer if they submit employee income tax registrations to SARS.

3. If you are an entrepreneur – You must register within 60 days after you have commenced business by completing an IT77 form (available from your local SARS office or from the SARS website).

What to submit

If you earn a salary, make sure that you gather and save the following information:

IRP5 certificate if tax was deducted upfront each month i.e PAYE (pay as you earn) – Your employer, by law, is obliged to issue IRP5 certificates to all its employees after payroll reports have been submitted to SARS (in the form of an EMP501 declaration).

IT3(a) certificate if tax was not deducted each month – Also issued to you by your employer at the end of each tax year.

Medical certificate – Issued by your medical aid scheme

IT3(f)- or Retirement Annuity Fund Certificate – Issued by your retirement fund provider.

IT3(b) certificate - Received from an institution such as a bank or financial services provider which will be a summary of any interest and dividends both local and foreign that you would have earned by having money invested with one or more of these places.


If you are an entrepreneur, you need to know the following information:

You need to pay provisional tax, intended to assist taxpayers in meeting their normal tax liabilities. This occurs by the payment of two instalments in respect of income received or accrued during the relevant tax year and an optional third payment after the end of the tax year, thus obviating, as far as possible, the need to make provision for a single substantial normal tax payment on assessment after the end of the tax year.

We can help you prepare a set of financial statements that separate your business income and expenses from your personal finances.

For more information on determining how much tax to pay, be on the lookout for our next article that will be published in April 2021. If you would like us to e-mail you the article when it is published, leave your contact details here.

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