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2020 Filing Season Update

On Friday, 31 July 2020, SARS released a batch of SMSs to taxpayers stating that an ‘auto-assessment’ had been issued. The outcome of the assessment was provided in the SMS and the taxpayer was directed to eFiling or the SARS MobiApp to accept or edit the ‘auto-assessment’.


The SMSs were sent directly to taxpayers without any communication being issued to the tax practitioners on record.


We are aware of the situation and we have information sent to us from SAIT who liaised with SARS on 3 August 2020 to discuss these and other matters in respect of the 2020 Filing Season. We provide the feedback from SARS hereunder. 


Please read the SARS FAQs on auto-assessment here.


Click here to watch the SARS tutorial on how to accept or edit an auto-assessment.

2020 Filing Season timelines
The timelines communicated by SARS remain the same as previously indicated:

1 September – 16 November 2020:

Taxpayers who file online via eFiling or the SARS MobiApp

1 September – 22 October 2020:

Taxpayers who cannot file electronically can file at selected SARS branches by appointment only.

1 September – 29 January 2021:

Provisional taxpayers who file via eFiling

Update on the opening of Filing Season for individual taxpayers

  • Based on the requests made by the RCBs, SARS has updated its systems to allow taxpayers to request and file tax returns from 1 August 2020 onwards, irrespective of whether or not they have received an ‘auto-assessment’.

  • Therefore, taxpayers that have received an ‘auto-assessment’ can accept or edit the underlying return and submit the return to SARS.

  • Taxpayers that have not received ‘auto-assessments’, may request a return from SARS and file their tax return to SARS before 1 September 2020.

  • The result is updates is that for most taxpayers the process should remain much the same as in prior filing seasons.

  • Remember that you are still able to perform all tax return related functions such as Request for Correction (RFC) and/or Notice of Objection or Appeal (NOO/NOA). The only change is that a tax calculation (auto-assessment) has been performed on the taxpayer’s behalf prior to any manual input of information into the ITR12. The auto-assessment is not considered a final submission.

Third party data on the tax return

  • Third party data providers should have submitted and provided their final data to SARS by 31 May 2020. However, over 2 million changes to tax records have been made by third party service providers since June 2020.

  • If there is a difference between the data as per the taxpayer’s return, versus the tax certificate provided to the taxpayer by the third party data provider, the taxpayer should use the ‘refresh’ functionality to check whether the new data submitted by the third party has already been updated on the taxpayer’s return.

SARS communication

  • Upon our request, SARS will investigate whether it would be possible to communicate to the taxpayer and the tax practitioner at the same time in the future regarding similar matters.

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