Tax season kicks off on 1st August, but ahead of that South Africans have been receiving text messages about their assessment.

If like us you were confused by this message given that in the past you would have to manually file your tax return, don’t be.

So long as your message follows the format below, rest assured that the SMS is legitimate and comes from the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

The SMS should look like this:

“Tax Ref: ******9201. Your 2020 Year of Assessment tax calculated results is -R0.89, based on the information at SARS disposal. You can accept or edit your return through the SARS digital channels. Failure to do so may result in SARS raising an estimate assessment.

For more info, visit the SARS website on https://www.sars.gov.za/TaxTypes/PIT/Tax-Season/Pages/How-does-the-Tax-Calculation-work.aspx

Note, that the tax reference number should match the last four digits of your tax reference number.

It’s part of an initiative called Auto Assessment that was meant to start in August but according to a report by Business Insider, those text messages are already being sent out.

“If you are auto-assessed, you will be notified per SMS in August – so there will be no need for you to call us or visit a branch. The SMS will direct you to eFiling or the SARS MobiApp to either ‘Accept’ or ‘Edit’ the return,” SARS explains on its website.

“Some taxpayers may receive communication prior to 1 August 2020 indicating why they will not be auto-assessed, or alerting them to their 2019 return submission findings. This will assist them to submit the outstanding returns. Please adhere to the communication and submit any outstanding returns as soon as possible, to avoid delays in filing your 2020 return, and to ensure a seamless experience this year,” the tax collector added.

For your convenience, SARS has compiled videos regarding how to complete this process via the eFiling website as well as via the SARS Mobi App which is available for both Android and iOS.

We’ve embedded both of these videos below. For any additional information we recommend visiting the SARS website.

eFiling Guide

SARS Mobi App Guide