The South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) has sought to explain how its auto-assessment system operates – as it attempts to move more than 3 million taxpayers from physical filing to online filing.

SARS has urged people to use their e-filing online system or mobi-app – as an option to file their tax returns this year.

SARS Commissioner, Edward Kieswetter, has also warned people to be vigilant of fraudulent emails and SMSes that claim to be from SARS.

“The outcome that SARS will derive, using all the data that we receive from your employer, the paperwork from your income, as well as the deductions. It’s the data we will get from your bank, pension fund and medical aid – that will be your core data. Calculation done by the risk engine, taking into account all of the data and the historical data, it will produce an outcome that should be exactly the same as if you would submit the data to us,” says Kieswetter.

Several taxpayers raised concerns over receiving emails and SMSes with false information – made to look as if messages were sent from SARS.

Kieswetter says they will never request banking details via email, post or SMSes.

“We became aware of a fake SMS and we would ask taxpayers to have a careful read at the SMS that is sent and our website address is very clear www.sars@gov.co.za and not to accept anything other than that and if they are not clear to rather call our call centres. We would encourage taxpayers to use the official mobile app or the e-filing system, which is the safest way to store your data,” says Kieswetter.

In the video below, SARS urges South Africans to comply with their tax returns: