Tax season officially starts on 1 July 2021. Are you ready? It can be an overwhelming time for both provisional and non-provisional taxpayers. It’s likely, in the past, you were rummaging through files and boxes, trying to find the correct documents to submit. We’re here to help you. Below, you’ll find a list of all the documentation you need to submit your income tax return successfully. 

A significant number of taxpayers will be auto-assessed again this year, which does make tax submission easier, and you have the choice of accepting the auto-assessment or you can edit the return via SARS e-filing


Filing Season 2021 dates:

1 July to 23 November 2021

  • Taxpayers who file online.
  • Taxpayers who cannot file online can do so at a SARS branch by appointment only.

1 July to 31 January 2022

  • Provisional taxpayers including Trusts may file via eFiling.

Do I have to file a tax return?

The short answer is that you don’t need to file a tax return if you meet the criteria listed below.

According to the South African Revenue Service:

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.

So, even if you have tax incentive policies such as a retirement annuity, other savings products and/or a medical aid scheme, you don’t need to file a return, but it’s in your best interest to do so.


SARS Auto Assessment

Since August 2020, SARS has been assessing a significant number of taxpayers automatically.  If you accept the outcome, you don’t have to complete a return because they would’ve done that for you.


The difference between provisional taxpayers and non-provisional taxpayers

Any person who receives income (or to whom income accrues) other than a salary, is a provisional taxpayer.  Most salary earners are therefore non-provisional taxpayers, if they have no other sources of income. It is important to note that receiving exempt income, as follows, does not make you a provisional taxpayer:

If you receive interest of less than R23 800 if you are under 65; or

If you receive interest of less than R34 500 if you are 65 and older or;

You have income in a tax-free savings account.

A provisional taxpayer is defined in paragraph 1 of the Fourth Schedule of the Income Tax Act, No.58 of 1962, as any;

  • Natural person who derives income, other than remuneration or an allowance or advance as mentioned in section 8(1) or who derives remuneration from an employer who is not registered for employees’ tax (for example, an embassy is not obligated to register as an employer for employees’ tax purposes)
  • Company; or person who is told by the Commissioner that he or she is a provisional taxpayer.

What information do I need to submit a tax return to SARS?

Here is a checklist of information and documents needed for your ITR12 submission. The following information is set out by the South African Institute of Tax Professionals.

*Please note some information has been paraphrased to ensure it’s concise and easy to understand.

  • Details of your banking particulars

WHAT YOU NEED: Bank confirmation letter

  • IRP5/IT3(a) employee tax certificate

WHAT YOU NEED: IRP5/ IT3(a) documents

  • ITR12 and ITA34 (prior year)

WHAT YOU NEED: Prior year tax return and assessment

  • Investment income (local interest income, foreign interest income, foreign dividends)

WHAT YOU NEED: IT3(b) documents

  • Travel allowance (if applicable)

WHAT YOU NEED: Purchase of a vehicle, logbook and proof of invoices for qualifying costs incurred

  • Your medical scheme fees and qualifying medical expenses (if applicable)

You need to obtain a statement from the medical scheme indicating the following:

  • Your portion paid on contributions.
  • The number of beneficiaries per month.
  • The total amount of claims submitted to the fund that were not refunded to you.

WHAT YOU NEED: Medical aid scheme certificate; a list of qualifying medical expenses (retain proof of payment) and ITR-DD form in case of a disability.

  • Married in community of property (If applicable)

If you are married in community of property, it is important that you indicate your marital status correctly on the first page of your return.

a) Income tax certificates for retirement annuity contributions made

WHAT YOU NEED: Income tax certificates for retirement annuity contributions made (IT3(f) certificate and proof of retirement annuity contributions made).

  • Capital gains transactions (if applicable)


  • Documentation supporting the acquisition cost.
  • Invoices supporting valuation costs incurred.
  • Invoices supporting direct costs of acquisition or disposal.
  • Invoices in support of costs to defend legal title.
  • Costs incurred with regards to improvements or enhancements to the value of the asset.
  • Purchase agreements
  • Invoices supporting valuation costs, invoices supporting direct costs of acquisition or disposal (such as remuneration paid to valuer, auctioneer, consultant, legal adviser, transfer costs, certificate of electrical installation, stamp duty, advertising costs to find a seller or a buyer, sales commission, installation costs).
  • Invoices in support of legal fees incurred in resisting expropriation, invoices in support of alterations and improvements provided that the improvements are still reflected in the state of the asset on the date of disposal.
  • To support the proceeds of the asset sold, the sales agreement needs to be retained.

If necessary, to your industry:

  • Commission-related expenditure

WHAT YOU NEED: Documents and receipts for commission-related expenditure (including a logbook to claim business travel expenses and entertainment slips).

  • Trading and farming activities

WHAT YOU NEED: Financial statements.

  • Home office expenses


A service contract with your employer that stipulates that you must, in terms of the requirements of the service contract, maintain a study at your private residence.

A schedule detailing the following must be prepared and retained for a period of five years, should SARS request it:

  • The nature of the occupation and why it is necessary to maintain a study at home.
  • Does your employer place an office at your disposal at the workplace?
  • Full details of any restrictions in the use of this office are to be furnished, as well as a letter of confirmation from your employer.
  • Is the work of such a nature that you are expected to work at home after hours?
  • Full details of how frequently the home study is used as well as a statement confirming the use thereof is required from your employer.
  • Are you required to use the home study to interview or supply information to clients or employees after hours?
  • Is the home study specifically equipped for purposes of the trade?
  • Is the study used regularly and exclusively for your work?
  • To what extent is the study indispensable to the proper carrying out of your tasks?
  •  Accounting or administration fees for the completion of your income tax return

WHAT YOU NEED: Invoice for professional fees which were actually paid or are payable for the completion of the income tax return.

We know that this is a lot of information. If you require assistance, it’s best to speak to a business consultancy that has access to reputable independent financial advisers and tax professionals.