How to get a tax refund

Every year most of us file for tax returns. This year the Tax Season for individuals opens on 1 July 2018 for eFilers and SARS branches will be open from 2 July 2018.

If you have been paying tax, you can claim for a tax refund during a financial year while filing his or her income tax returns for that year. Remember,  you are eligible to receive income tax refund when you have paid more tax to the government than your actual tax liability.

Medical aid
If you are paying for your own medical aid chances are you can claim back a small amount. Now the fixed amount for this year's assessment is R 310 per month for a principal and R209 per month per dependent. The Medical Scheme Fees Tax Credit effectively replaced part of the tax deduction that was specifically allowed for medical scheme contributions, and applies to fees paid by a taxpayer to a registered medical scheme (or similar registered scheme outside South Africa) for that taxpayer and his or her "dependents" (as defined in the Medical Schemes Act).

If you are diagnosed with a disability you may also claim full medical aid contributions as well as 100% of medical bills unpaid by the medical aid. A doctor is required to complete a certain form which must be kept on file. There is a definition to disability but people who have lost limbs or who suffer from a mental disorder (such as depression) are defined as disabled. The requirement is that the day to day activities of an individual must be severely limited or hampered in order to claim this benefit. A deaf or blind person will hence qualify. The income tax act allows any person whose spouse or dependents meet these requirements to quality for this tax benefit.

RELATED: The 5 types of investments and how they work

Retirement Annuities
On 1 March 2016, the tax deductions for retirement savings increased from 15% to 27.5% - which means you can now save more for retirement and get back more from SARS. At present government allows you to make tax-free contributions to an RA up to whichever is the higher of 27.5% of your taxable income or your remuneration (SARS distinguishes between the two), capped at R350 000 per year. Contributions above this limit made directly by your employer are also now taxable as a fringe benefit in your hands.
You don’t have to do this in monthly payments spread over the year; you can decide, for instance, a month before the end of the tax year on 28 February, to review your retirement portfolio and claim the full allowable deduction for the entire tax year. You will be paying less tax now, as your RA contributions will be made from earnings on which you have not yet paid tax.

If you need any help with your taxes, consult a tax practitioner or call SARS. I also suggest that you learn to use e Filing. It's really quick and efficient and whatever mistakes you've made there you can fix very quickly.

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