From 1 – 14 July 2022, SARS issued approximately 2.5 million estimated assessments to individual taxpayers, as part of their enhanced ‘auto-assessment’ process. As a result, several taxpayers were entitled to receive income tax refunds. Prior to the commencement of the filing season, SARS committed to paying income tax refunds within 72 hours from the date the assessment was issued. However, where a refund has not been paid out within the stipulated time, it was determined that the refund would typically be delayed under the following 2 circumstances:
- Refund limitations by SARS
SARS has a set number of refunds, which can be processed on a daily basis. Once this limit has been reached, all additional refunds will need to be processed in the subsequent days. Due to the number of refunds, which needed to be processed and the limitations of the system, SARS experienced a delay in the processing of some refunds. As of 14 July 2022, SARS indicated that all refund payments were up to date.
- Special stopper placed on the assessed account
The main reason for the reversal of an income tax refund is the placing of a ‘special stopper’ on the assessed account. When a special stopper is placed on the assessed account, the taxpayer must verify or update their banking details. This is purely for security reasons and not necessarily because the banking details changed.
To update the banking details, the taxpayer would need to book a virtual appointment and have the special stopper removed. The taxpayer can book the appointment via the SARS Booking system.
The taxpayer must submit the following documents on the SARS Online Query System at least 2 hours before the meeting:
- ID copy;
- Proof of address (not older than 3 months);
- Bank Statement (1 month but not older than 3 months); and
- A selfie of the taxpayer holding their ID and a note containing the case number and the appointment date.