People may complain about having to pay taxes, but the fact remains that they are paid in almost every society in the world. As a financial responsibility towards the community, tax is also present in South Africa, and is paid to the South African Revenue Service (usually called SARS by locals, pronounced “sarz”).
But it isn’t only the concept of handing over a large sum of money that makes tax so unpopular. Tax can also be very confusing to the ordinary man in the street, and it typically involves paperwork and queues. In order to ensure that you are paying what you owe, when you owe it, you need the best advice that you can get. Trying to handle SARS on your own can be a tricky affair, especially if you are new to the country.
If you are coming to South Africa to work, you should be aware of the necessity of registering for income tax. This may take on a number of different forms, and your employer should be able to advise you on the correct procedure. In South Africa, an employee’s tax is usually deducted on the payslip itself, so you keep all of whatever you get paid. Do not try to avoid paying tax. Even if your employer handles your tax, you still need to be registered as a taxpayer. SARS has a method of investigating suspected tax dodgers that can easily catch you out!
If you are running a business, there is even more work to done on the tax side of things. You need to make sure that your employees are registered for UIF (the Unemployment Insurance Fund, which assists retrenched workers), and the correct form of tax that they are required to pay, depending on which tax bracket they fall into and the nature of their employment by your company. You will also need to register for VAT (Value Added Tax, which is South Africa’s version of Government Sales Tax).
Do no be daunted by the issue of tax. There are trained advisors who can assist you. Rather stay on the safe side, and be sure to pay what you owe.