Are you a South African resident working inside or outside the country? Then you may be liable to pay tax on any income you receive worldwide. If you’re a foreigner working in the country, tax will only be levied on your South African based income. But, before you become a taxpayer, you’ll need a SARS tax number.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about getting your own, unique tax number in South Africa.
What is a tax number?
Your tax number is a unique 10-digit number that is only given to you by the South African Revenue Service (SARS). This number shows that you’re a registered taxpayer and it will appear on your documents such as payslips and tax returns.
You must register as a taxpayer with SARS within 60 days of getting your first salary, wages, commission, income, etc. SARS collects the income tax, which then goes towards government projects like construction of roads, schools, hospitals and the provision of public services.
Keep in mind that if you do not give to SARS what belongs to SARS, you may then be fined or imprisoned.
What do you need to apply for a tax number with SARS?
As mentioned earlier, you can only receive a tax number from SARS. Here’s what you need to start your application:
- Certified copy of your valid ID, passport, or driver’s licence – certification can easily be done at your nearest police station as long as you bring the originals
- Original bank statements for the last 3 months – these should be stamped by the bank
- Proof of residence – usually this is a water bill or lease agreement with your name and address on it
How to get a SARS tax number?
Here are three ways to apply for a tax number if you’re a new taxpayer in South Africa:
Apply for a tax number online with SARS eFiling
- Visit https://www.sarsefiling.co.za/
- Click on Register Now and follow the guidelines provided.
- Once you register for SARS eFiling, request a Notice of Registration. You’ll get your tax reference number if you don’t already have one.
- You can also register for SARS eFiling by following the above steps on the SARS MobiApp.
- You’ll be able to receive your tax number via email or other methods. Generally, you’ll also be able to use the same tax number throughout your life.
Visit a SARS branch in person
You can also visit the nearest SARS branch to register for a tax number once you’ve made an appointment. Make sure to bring the required documents so the official can register you on the system. Typically, you’ll get your tax number soon after registering.
Apply through your employer or the HR department
You don’t really require a tax number to get your first job or go for an interview. Your new employer can easily register you as a taxpayer once you start working. Approach them and discuss the best way forward when it comes to getting a tax number for you.
Do you need a tax number if you’re not employed?
If you’re not formally employed, you may still need a tax number when you:
- Have an income of R60 000 or more
- Start a business in your name
- Plan on buying a house
- Buy and sell shares
- Receive a travel allowance
- Have had PAYE deducted from your income within the year
- Want to be a director of a company or a member of CC
Important things to know when registering your tax number in South Africa
- Don’t be the victim of scams. SARS will never request personal or banking details through email, post, phone calls, or SMS. If you also receive links sending you to a different website it’s most likely a scam.
- If you forget your tax number, you can check with your employer, or any letters received from SARS or any medical and pensioned forms. Other options include visiting SARS at their offices, calling them on 0800 00 7277, or sending them a query on their website.
- You may come across information telling you to download an IT77 form online and fill it out to register as a taxpayer. Please note that this method is no longer available. Your only options are the three methods mentioned above.
Simply follow the guidelines in this article to get your tax number in South Africa. It’s easy to get started on your tax number application today! Got family and friends who also need this information? Share this handy article with them so you can all be law-abiding, tax-compliant residents.
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