SARS 2024 Tax Season: What You Need to Know About Auto Assessments

Written on 08/07/2024
Nexia SAB&T

As we approach the 2024 tax season, South African taxpayers are preparing for the annual ritual of filing their returns. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has streamlined this process with the introduction of auto assessments, but it is essential to understand the timelines, potential pitfalls and opportunities to ensure that you accurately declare your income and claim all eligible deductions.

 Key Timelines for the 2024 Tax Season

1. 1 July 2024: Tax season officially opens. SARS sends a pre-populated assessment to certain taxpayers based on third-party data received from employers, financial institutions and other entities.

2. 21 October 2024: Final deadline for filing returns for non-provisional taxpayers. For those who choose to submit their returns manually or need to make adjustments to the auto assessment, this is the last day to do so.

3. 20 January 2025: Deadline for provisional taxpayers (those with other sources of income like rental or business income) to file their returns.

 Potential Pitfalls of Auto Assessments

While the auto assessment process simplifies tax filing, it is not without its flaws. SARS relies on third-party data, which may not always be comprehensive or accurate. Here are some common issues to watch out for:

1. Missed Tax Deductions: Auto assessments might not capture all the deductions you are entitled to. Common deductions that could be overlooked include:

   - Medical Expenses: Out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by your medical aid.

   - Retirement Contributions: Additional contributions to retirement annuities.

   - Home Office Expenses: For those working from home, allowable deductions related to maintaining a home office.

   - Travel Expenses: If you use your vehicle for work-related travel and keep a logbook, these expenses can be deducted.

2. Undeclared Income: The auto assessment might not include all sources of income, particularly if SARS has not received the necessary third-party data. Examples of income that might be missed include:

   - Rental Income: If you own rental property, ensure that all rental income is declared. SARS has historically missed this in auto assessments, leading to under-declared income.

   - Freelance or Gig Income: Income from freelance work or gigs might not be included if it is not reported by the payer.

   - Foreign Income: Any income earned outside South Africa needs to be declared, even if it is not included in the auto assessment.

 Steps to Ensure Accurate Tax Filing

1. Review Your Auto Assessment Carefully: When you receive your auto assessment, review it in detail. Compare it against your records to ensure that all income and deductions are accurately reflected.

2. Keep Comprehensive Records: Maintain detailed records of all your income and expenses throughout the year. This includes medical bills, RA statements, rental income statements, and receipts for deductible expenses.

3. Adjust and Submit if Necessary: If you find discrepancies in the auto assessment, do not hesitate to make the necessary adjustments and submit your return manually.

4. Seek Professional Advice: If your tax situation is complex, consider seeking advice from a tax professional. They can help you navigate the complexities of the tax code and ensure that you do not miss any deductions or income.


The 2024 tax season brings the convenience of auto assessments, but it also requires vigilance from taxpayers. By understanding the timelines, being aware of potential issues, and taking steps to ensure accurate reporting, you can avoid common pitfalls and make the most of your tax return. Stay informed, review your assessments thoroughly, and seek professional advice if needed to ensure a smooth and successful tax season.

Please note that the above is for information purposes only and does not constitute tax/financial advice. As everyone’s personal circumstances vary, we recommend they seek advice on the matter. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, Nexia SAB&T does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracies or errors contained herein.

Article prepared by: Stefan Diederiks CA(SA)

Entrepreneurial Business Services Director, Registered Tax Practitioner

For any queries or further information, please contact:

•        Hassen Kajie

Entrepreneurial Business Services Director

M: (+27) 82 333 3389 | E: 

•        Yousuf Hassen

Entrepreneurial Business Services Director

M: (+27) 82 333 3376 | E:

Source: The South African Revenue Services