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Understanding your taxes

July saw the beginning of another tax filing season in South Africa. From 1 July to 23 November 2021, South Africans are encouraged to file their taxes preferably online as we are still in the middle of a pandemic. However the option to file physically at a SARS branch is still available by appointment only; click here to make an appointment.

Key dates to diarise:

  • 1 July to 23 November 2021 – for non-provisional taxpayers filing online.

  • 16 August to 23 November 2021 – for non-provisional taxpayers who require assistance filing at a SARS branch (by appointment only).

  • 1 July to 31 January 2022 – for provisional taxpayers and trusts filing online via eFiling or the SARS MobiApp.

Do all South Africans need to file a tax return?

According to the SARS website, not everyone who has earned income and paid tax during the 2021 tax year needs to file a tax return. As an individual, you are only liable to pay income tax if you received taxable income (income after exemptions and deductions have been applied) which is more than a specific amount (known as the "tax threshold" amount) for the tax year. For the 2021 year of assessment, the tax threshold amounts are:

  • R83 100 for individuals younger than 65

  • R128 650 for individuals 65 or older, but younger than 75

  • R143 850 for individuals 75 or older

SARS states that, as an individual South African tax resident, you do not need to submit an income tax return for the 2021 year of assessment if:

  • You have been notified by the Commissioner that you are eligible for auto-assessment and your gross income, exemptions, deductions and rebates are reflecting correctly at the date of accepting the auto-assessment; or if you do not respond to the automatic assessment notification on or before 23 November 2021.

  • You have not been selected for auto-assessment, and your gross income consisted of one or more of the following categories of income (even if your gross income exceeds the threshold at which tax becomes payable):

    1. South African sourced interest (not from a tax-free investment) less than:

      • R23 800 for individuals below age 65

      • R34 500 for individuals age 65 and older

    2. Amounts received from a tax-free investment

    3. Remuneration not exceeding R500 000 from only one employer and the employer who deducted the required tax

Who must file?

If you are a South African tax resident and you earned above the tax threshold amount, you will need to file a tax return if you had more than one employer or income source, for example you changed jobs during the tax year or worked two jobs, you earned rental income or you earned extra income from a side business. The same applies if you received a taxable allowance or advance from your employer, for example a travel, subsistence, computer or cellular allowance or if you had the right to use a motor vehicle supplied by your employer.

In some instances, as a South African tax resident, you may be required to file a tax return regardless of whether your taxable income exceeded or was less than the tax threshold amount. You will be required to file a tax return for the 2021 tax year if any of the following applies:

  • You carried on a business (not as an employee) in or outside of South Africa.

  • You sold assets and the capital gain or loss was more than R40 000 for the tax year.

  • You owned foreign currency or foreign assets and the total value was more than R250 000 at any time during the tax year.

  • You earned a foreign salary for work done as an employee outside of South Africa.

  • You earned income or capital gains from foreign currency or assets outside of South Africa that attributed to you (for example, as a result of making a donation, settlement or other disposition).

  • SARS sent you a tax return and requested that you complete it.

Do not wait to file your taxes until it's too late, avoid the rush and the queues and file today.

For more information regarding your tax submission, please contact SARS directly on 0800 007 277 or visit


SARS website -



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