Record-Keeping – SARS

Fine_Loans_Record_Keeping_SARS

What is the role of the South African Revenue Services (SARS)? 

As the tax body in South Africa, SARS is responsible for collecting taxes for qualifying South African citizens. 

SARS is the tax authority and has a mandate to collect tax money from the country’s citizens who are earning above the regulatory tax threshold. The institution has undergone a revamp in recent years in order to improve its systems and processes.  

For business owners, the taxation process can be quite daunting. This doesn’t have to be the case however. By ensuring that record-keeping is in line with the requirements set by SARS, businesses are more likely to be compliant. 

Ways to simplify business tax: 
  • Keep accurate records  
  • Keep all of your receipts 
  • Keep scanned copies of important documents online 
  • Keep relevant documents for a minimum of five years 
  • Familiarise yourself with deductions and allowances that are available to SMEs 

SARS also has a number of rules about record-keeping, such as that documents must be kept as records. This will be useful for compliance. 

According to the Tax Administration Act, certain individuals must keep records. These are people who: 
  • Are registered and have filed a tax return 
  • Are required to submit a tax return 
  • Are not required to submit a tax return, but during the tax period, have engaged in activities that are subject to tax 
There are also guidelines about the records: 
  • Must be original 
  • Can be recorded manually or electronically 
  • May need to be authorised by senior SARS officials 
  • Must be compiled in an orderly fashion 
  • Must be stored safely 
  • Must be open for inspection, audit or investigation by SARS 

Records must also be kept for at least five years. In case of an audit or investigation, they must be kept until the conclusion. 

Aside from having record-keeping prepared for SARS, businesses and individuals should be in the habit of maintaining good records.