Online Tax Tools Which Make Filing SO Much Easier
Tax season isn’t fun for anyone – even SARS. But there are a few online tax help tools which can save you a lot of time and effort…
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June 6th, 2017 by Megan Ellis
Every person should get a crash course in taxes during school so that they aren’t completely clueless once they start working.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen – and many are left scratching our heads when the time comes to pay SARS its dues.
Luckily, some of us can leave most of the legwork up to our employers. But things become more complicated when you need to file for refunds; if you are self-employed or have multiple income streams.
While CompareGuru won’t be able to teach you all the ins-and-outs of taxes for every situation, we have compiled a list of useful online tools that can help you.
If you want an estimate of the total amount of taxes you owe SARS every year, there are a variety of online tax calculators available.
Many companies like Sanlam, Sage and Old Mutual offer income tax calculators. Many of these also allow you to input medical expenses, retirement savings and other tax-deductible expenses.
While there may be other factors affecting your returns, these calculators can give you a good estimate of what to expect.
You would think this one is obvious, but many people still stop by SARS branches to file their taxes. However, the SARS e-Filing service saves you the trip.
e-Filing is a much better alternative, allowing you to submit your returns online.
SARS will only call you into their offices if they need certain documents or need an in-person meeting. But most people never have to see the inside of a branch if they use this service.
When you consider the queues and the general inconvenience of in-person filing, e-filing becomes a welcome alternative.
You just need to register on the SARS site with your tax number and submit a few documents digitally to verify your profile.
If you’re lucky, you will never have to file your taxes in person again.
There are some online tax services which offer help and advice to taxpayers.
We’ve found TaxTim.com to be highly useful in this regard. The company offers paid-for services, like filing your taxes on your behalf.
However, much of the advice, tips and answers on the site are available for free. The site has a variety of questionnaires to help you figure out what types of tax you have to pay (e.g. provisional vs PAYE/income tax). They also answer user-submitted questions.
There are a variety of other tax help sites available, however, we can confirm TaxTim is a user-friendly site with a lot of free information and help.
The site can also help simplify information that is listed on SARS’ website, but which is difficult to understand or clarify.
A site called the South African Tax Guide offers similar services to TaxTim, if you are looking for a potential alternative. The site has tax news, legal tax cases and even study notes for tax students.
SME Toolkit South Africa offers quite a bit of advice and suggestions for small business owners who need to file taxes.
The site has a series of articles defining tax terms, discussing various forms of tax and VAT requirements.
Many tax calculator sites also provide business tax versions, but SME Toolkit SA is completely geared towards business owners. This focus can help entrepreneurs get specialist information.
The SARS site can sometimes be difficult to navigate due to the extensive amount of information on it.
Sometimes the opposite is true for certain FAQs though. For example, for the question “How can a taxpayer submit an IRP6 return?”, SARS doesn’t give much insight.
“A taxpayer can submit an IRP6 return via the following channels: eFiling, Post, The SARS Branch office / Taxpayer Service Centre,” the site says. That’s it.
But the organisation does have a variety of guides which are much more user-friendly and informative.
For example, the guide for IRP6 (provisional) tax returns is considerably better than the FAQ page. It includes screenshots, step-by-step guides and follow-up information.
In order to access these guides, you need to visit the SARS ‘Find a Publication’ webpage.
Do you know of any other useful online tax tools? Let us know in the comments below…
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