Provisional Tax: Are You Ready for the Crucial 29 February Deadline?


“Provisional tax is merely a mechanism to pay the normal income tax liability during the tax year... an advance payment of a taxpayer’s normal tax liability.”

To provisional taxpayers, especially those who are liable for provisional tax in both their personal capacities and as business owners, it may well seem that there are endless provisional tax deadlines and payments to be made every year.
There are indeed numerous income tax provisional and final declarations and payments that overlap across tax years, which is certainly confusing, and yet non-compliance is met with some of the harshest penalties imposed by SARS, most notably in respect of the second provisional tax declaration and payment, due by the end of February for individuals, and for companies with a February financial year end.

In this article we find out who are provisional taxpayers, what they need to pay and when and how to avoid the penalties for non-compliance.

What is provisional tax?

  • Provisional tax is not a type of tax, but a cash flow mechanism to collect pre-
    payments of taxes that must be made in respect of individual provisional taxpayers' and company taxpayers’ normal annual income tax prior to a final determination of the annual tax liability.
  • At least two amounts are paid in advance during the year of assessment, based on estimated taxable income for the year of assessment. A third optional payment can be made.

Why must provisional tax be paid?

  • Ensures government collects cash more evenly during the year and not just in bulk amounts following final tax assessments which are annual and usually in similar time periods e.g. end of December or February.
  • Spreads the payment of a taxpayer’s year’s income tax liability over two or even three provisional payments.
  • Prevents taxpayers facing large income tax liabilities that are only revealed at the end of the year of assessment when the annual personal income tax (PIT) return ITR12 or the annual corporate income tax (CIT) return ITR14 is filed.
  • The first, second and third provisional payments are credited against any tax owing after the final income tax return is filed, and any further tax liability will then become due.
  • Reduces the risk and amount of interest accruing between the time when a tax liability is determined and when it is paid.

Read more here

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