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Breaking news from SARS

by , 10 June 2014
If you're a Vat vendor you should be registered for SARS eFiling. What a convenient way to ensure you have control over the Vat you submit to SARS. While looking through the Vat eFiling site the other day, I found these nifty tips that I've compiled to simplify Vat refunds, returns, account queries and payments for you. Let's take a look at how to use eFiling for Vat purposes.


Breaking news: SARS has just setup eFiling for SARS.

This article shows you exactly how to apply for refunds, get saved copies of past Vat returns, check your Vat account status and process Vat payments on the last business day.

How to use the Vat refund dashboard to see how far SARS is with your refund

Want to know how far SARS is with your refund? Well, the refund dashboard tells you. It works like this:

1. Log onto the Vat eFiling section.
2. Click on 'returns' in the top menu.
3. On the left-hand side, select 'Vat Maintenance' and then 'refund dashboard'.
4. The 'refund dashboard' page will display the following info:
• Your registration details; and
• A tax period search (starting at March 2011).
5. Once you select a tax period, you'll see, in table format:
• The tax period;
• Amount of the refund as per the Vat return;
• A description of the issue affecting the refund;
• A colour-coded indicator that, at a glance, tells you about your refund status:

– Red – you need to take action, e.g. submit documents;
– Amber – SARS is in the process of completing their audit;
– Green – nothing needed or any issues resolved. The cheque is in the mail!

Remember: SARS has 21 business days to make your refund, otherwise it must pay you interest! Now let's look at how to view your past Vat returns…
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The small mistake that could cause big trouble

According to Vat law SARS has the right to withhold your refund if it suspects anything's wrong with your return.

Unfortunately, it doesn't take much for SARS to have a 'reasonable' excuse to do this.

Our contacts at SARS tell us small administrative mistakes raise many of the red flags that could hold your refund back or even trigger an audit.

It could be something as simple as leaving a space instead of putting a zero in column 1 or 1A of your Vat return.

Click here to find out how to get your Vat return right every single time.

How to get saved copies of your past Vat returns

You don't really have to keep hard copies of your Vat return. Or, if you do keep hard copies, and can't find one, SARS has it saved on your eFiling profile!

How to access your past Vat returns in four easy steps:

Step #1: Log onto the eFiling Vat section.
Step #2: Click on 'returns' in the top menu.
Step #3: Click on 'Value-added Tax'
Step #4: On the right hand side of the screen is a little 'drop down' box where you insert the relevant tax period, and the Vat return opens up for you! Now let's look at how to view your Vat account…

How to check your Vat account is clear before you apply for a Tax Clearance Certificate

You all know that when it comes to requesting a tax clearance certificate, SARS will refuse your request even if you owe them 12 cents from 20 years back. So, to be sure your Vat account is clean with SARS, you can obtain a copy of your account from eFiling!

Here's how:

1. Log into eFiling.
2. Click on 'returns' in the top menu.
3. On the left-hand side, select 'Vat Maintenance' and then on 'account maintenance' and just fill in the options.
4. Your relevant Vat account then appears, like magic!

How to process Vat payments on the last business day

The best for last. When you eFile, remember that you can pay your Vat on the last business day. This may give you a bit of space cash-flow wise! This includes submitting your return!  Don't let SARS bully you and penalise you for not submitting your Vat return on the 25th (as it does in many cases!). The Vat law is clear! When you eFile, you can submit your return and payment on the last business day of the month following the end of the tax period.

P.S: Durban, Bloem and Joburg, I'll be presenting my Vat Masterclass in your city this year. Have a look at the brochure and join me as I reveal more SARS secrets from the inside!


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