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Three rules to complete your VAT return correctly and stay under SARS' radar

by , 22 December 2016
Three rules to complete your VAT return correctly and stay under SARS' radarVAT is a 'self-assessment' system. This means you're required to work out if you should be paying money in to SARS, or if you should be getting money back from it.

You do this calculation on a VAT return, called a VAT201 via eFiling at the end of your tax period.

But because of numerous mistakes VAT vendors make, SARS checks the VAT returns from time to time by way of a VAT audit. And if anything's wrong on your VAT return, SARS has a laundry list of offences it will charge you with. And, it will flag you for more regular audits. So it can keep checking up on your mistakes.

So to avoid all this, read on for three rules you must abide by to submit your VAT return correctly. And stay under SARS' radar!

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Three rules to submitting your VAT return correctly

Rule #1: Make sure you have tax invoices for all your input tax claims

I know I harp on this subject a lot and must sound like a broken record. But the tax invoice is the most important document in the whole VAT chain! Make sure you have tax invoices for your input tax claims, and more importantly, make sure they're valid. See chapter T01: Tax Invoices in the Practical VAT Loose Leaf for all the requirements you need for a valid tax invoice.

Rule #2: Fill in the correct blocks
Read the description of each block and make sure you fill in the correct ones!
For example, don't put zero rates (meant for block 2) in at exemptions (block 3).

Also, don't use other blocks you've never used before. By filling in the incorrect blocks, or swopping blocks every tax period, you only put yourself at risk for a SARS audit. And I'm talking about the kind that could result in SARS grabbing money out of your business bank account.

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Rule #3: If you have a refund – check up on it to make sure SARS gives it to you within 21 business days

You read right! If you claim a refund, and you don't owe SARS money on any other taxes, then SARS MUST refund you within 21 working days. This includes doing and finalising their audit!

Just make sure you and your documents are available within those 21 working days. So when you submit your VAT return, start counting the days. And if you've done your part, and the refund isn't in your bank account on working day number 22, then phone the call centre, and tell them you demand your interest.

You'll probably get some sort of stunned silence on the other end, but at least you'll get a case number out of them. Then use that case number in a letter to SARS demanding your interest.

I know there are many of you who have refunds withheld for no reason, and what are you doing about it?

Well now you know the three rules of your VAT return. Here's how to make sure it 100% correct.



Got an impending VAT audit? Get ahead of SARS and make sure you're fully prepared for those unwanted visitors. Find out how here...

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