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Why Have I not received my tax Refund as yet?

Clients have oftentimes asked us “when will I get my refund from SARS?”.

While we’re not involved in the payments of tax refunds, we can provide insight into the SARS processes and timelines.


How do I know that I will get a SARS Refund?

Once you’ve completed and submitted your annual tax return (called the ITR12), SARS will issue a document called the ITA34. You will receive an email and / or SMS advising you to log onto your eFiling profile and navigate to the notices section to view documents. On the first page of the ITA34 you will see whether you owe SARS money, or if they will issue you with a refund. Hint: A minus sign in front of the amount means you've been assessed as being owed a refund.

If you’re a HM Accounting Client, you won’t have as much work to do. We’ll send you and email to let you know the outcome of your annual tax return, whether it be a refund or if you owe SARS a further payment.


How long does it take to get my Refund?

If you’re owed a refund, this will be electronically processed and usually reflects in your bank account within 2 – 3 days of the ITA34 being issued.


Why Has SARS Not Paid My Refund?

Your refund might not always be processed right away. If a return you were anticipating doesn't appear in your bank account after more than a week after receiving your ITA34, then you might wish to investigate one of the following causes of the delay.


1. Audit

Your return might have been selected for an audit or verification. On the ITA34, there is a block which says Audit: Yes or Audit: No. If it says No then this means SARS will be able to process a refund immediately, all going to plan. If it says Yes, then wait for SARS to send a follow-up letter requesting supporting documentation. All this means is that SARS wants to check that the information and amounts you provided to them on the return match the original documents used to complete the return.


Once the audit process is finished, SARS has 21 business days to issue a Letter of Completion and also generate a second, revised/additional ITA34 showing if the refund or amount owing has changed or stayed the same. Once the Letter arrives, expect the refund within 7 business days.


As a HM Accounting client, we’ll assist you with the audit process.


2. Banking Details

SARS may have invalid, outdated, incomplete or no banking details listed for you. They would generally notify you if there’s been a problem, but if it’s been a while since your refund was due and you haven’t received any documentation, it’s worth it to confirm with SARS. If they aren’t correct, follow the steps on how to change your banking details at SARS.

As an HM Accounting Client, we assist you with your banking details verification.


3. Outstanding Returns

If you’ve failed to keep your annual tax returns up to date, SARS will insist that all outstanding returns are submitted before a refund will be issued to you.

If you complete these old tax returns SARS can release your tax refund.


4. Unpaid Balance

The final possible explanation for the delay in your return is that you still owe money to SARS.



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