Sars opens its new online office today

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

As from today, you can register to fill in your income tax form online at

While South African Revenue Services (Sars) has mailed its new simplified one-page double-sided forms to registered tax payers, it is encouraging people with Internet access to rather "e-file".

Sars commissioner Pravin Gordhan said at a presentation of the new technology on Friday that the driving principles of the design were simplicity, convenience and accuracy.

The result is a somewhat bewildering choice of ways to submit tax forms this year.

If you don't employ a practitioner to do your taxes, then you can simply register for a Sars Internet account online and fill in the webform.

Under the new Sars rules, you no longer need to staple IRP5s and other papers to your tax form and deposit them in the Sars mailboxes.

Now Sars only wants reference numbers, which you can provide online. But you are required to keep IRP5s and any other papers like medical claim receipts for five years in case Sars slaps you with an audit.

The problem with webforms is they cannot be shared with tax practitioners, said Barry Hore, Sars general manager responsible for strategy, modernisation and technology.

To accommodate people who use tax consultants, Sars is making downloadable files available, which look identical to its printed forms.

These electronic forms are in Adobe's portable document format (pdf) and can be filled in using Adobe Reader 8.1.