Beware the new R500,000 tax return threshold

South African taxpayers should beware of simply ignoring their normal tax filing obligations due to the recent tax threshold change, according to North West University professor Herman Viviers.

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) recently announced that it increased the tax return threshold from R350,000 to R500,000.

This means that South Africans who earn less then R500,000 per year will no longer need to submit personal income tax returns.

“People should be very wary not simply ignore filing their normal tax returns as there is always the possibility of getting a tax refund due to additional tax deductions and/or tax credits only allowed upon assessment,” Viviers said.

He added that people should also take into account their retirement annuity contributions and medical schemes when considering filing their tax return, as they will need to declare these to claim back tax on these payments.

“Individuals will lose out on these deductions and tax credits if they do not submit their tax returns,” Viviers said.

He added that if people are uncertain about whether to submit their return, they should consult with a registered tax practioner to determine if they are compliant with the Tax Administration Act.


While it did increase the tax threshold to R500,000, SARS stated that taxpayers would still need to meet the following criteria in order to avoid filing a return:

  • Your total employment income for the year before tax is not more than R500,000.
  • You only receive employment income from one employer for the full tax year.
  • You have no other form of income, such as car allowance, business income, rental income, taxable interest or income from another job.
  • You don’t have any additional allowable tax related deductions to claim, such as medical expenses, retirement annuity contributions and travel expenses.

The tax season will officially start on 1 August for all taxpayers, while digital platforms will be available for e-filing from 1 July.

SARS has stated that it would be especially hard on people who miss their payment deadlines this year.

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Beware the new R500,000 tax return threshold