So, you’ve heard that you don’t have to file a tax return if you earn less than R500,000 a year?

Well that’s not entirely true…


SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter did indeed present his plans to increase the previous threshold from R350,000 to R500,000, however only certain taxpayers fall into this bracket. A taxpayer would have to meet the following criteria:

  • Total employment income of less than R500,000;
  • From a single employer for the full tax year;
  • No other form of income, such as business income, rental income, taxable interest, income from a “side-hustle”, interest, special allowances, etc.
  • No allowable tax related deductions, such as medical aid, claimable medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions, pension contributions, travel expenses, repairs & maintenance, etc.

So, let’s break that down…

  1. Did you earn more than 1c in interest during the year, like a positive credit card balance or savings account balance?
  2. Did you change employers during the year?
  3. Did you perhaps sell something from a side business?
  4. Are you a director of any company?
  5. Are you a provisional taxpayer?
  6. Do you have medical aid?
  7. Do you contribute to a retirement annuity or pension fund?

If so, you should still submit your return, you’d be shooting yourself in the foot otherwise. Remember, on items like medical aid contributions and retirement annuity contributions you could most likely get money back.

Remember, SARS can issue monthly penalties if you don’t submit your return, even if you were under the impression that filing a return was not required.

If you have any doubts about whether you should submit a return, feel free to get in touch with us.