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Seven steps to fill in your Vat201 form correctly so you don't end up with a 200% SARS penalty

by , 23 January 2015
If you recently became a Vat vendor, it means you need to start submitting your Vat returns to SARS. You do this by filling in the Vat201 form.

If this is the first time you're doing this, it can be daunting and confusing. Especially when you know a mistake could lead to a huge 200% penalty from SARS.

The good news is, we're here to help.

Here are the seven steps you need to take to complete your Vat201 correctly ...


Follow these seven steps to complete your Vat201 correctly the first time

Step #1: Log in to SARS e-Filing. By now, you should have a SARS e-Filing account because it's the easiest way to manage your taxes. If you haven't registered for e-Filing yet, do so now!
Step #2: Once you're in e-Filing, request your VAT201 return on the right hand side of the screen. Do this by selecting the tax period you need to complete and click on 'Request Return'.
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Step #3: Read the screen instructions and click on 'Open'. This opens the return.
Step #4: Your VAT201 form will open in three pages:
Page 1 gives you the name, Vat number and tax period for your business. Remember, you have to include the contact details of the person capturing or 'filling in' the return too. This means your representative taxpayer's details must be on the return.
The reason for this is, firstly, it let's SARS update the details it has for the contact person in your business. And secondly, it knows who to get hold of if it has any questions.
Pages 2 and 3 are where you put in all the details for your company's output and input tax.
Step #5: Check if you can claim for diesel. This depends on what type of industry you're in, such as on land, offshore or rail or harbour services.
Make sure you mark the 'X' in the correct block. Also, check the tax period is the correct one.
After all, it's possible for even the SARS system to make mistakes. 
Then, if you're an importer, check your importer code is on the return.
Step #6: Turn to page 2 of the return 
This is where you account for output tax.
Block 1 is where you write in your income (including 14% Vat). The only exception is for commercial accommodation. This you must fill in blocks 5 and 7.
Fill in the amount, in rands only you. Don't have to calculate the Vat in block 4. The e-Filing system does this automatically for you!
Fill in block 1A if you've sold any assets. Again, fill in the rand amount only. The system will calculate the rest in block 4A.
Block 2 is for any goods or services you've applied the zero Vat rate to. Don't do this for your exports! These you fill in at block 2A.
Block 3 is for exempt supplies.
Block 12 is for other output tax you want to pay to SARS. This now includes payment relating to imported services. In the past, you would have to declare your imported services on a VAT215 form.
Block 13 totals all your output tax, but once again, the system adds it up for you!
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Easy VAT Calculations in 3 steps!
Are you aware that thanks to the self-assessment Vat system, you're an unofficial SARS agent?
That's why you must 
Get your basic VAT calculations right the first time!
No matter how great your turnover, or how confusing your mix of exempt, deemed, notional or standard-rated supplies, there are still three basic steps to determine your Vat liability.
Step #7: Turn to page 3 of the return
This is where you claim your input tax.
To ensure you claim on every input tax credit available, check out the Vat201 Form e-Report. It contains everything you need to fill in your Vat201 correctly.

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