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Thread: I don't even know where to begin

  1. #1
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    I don't even know where to begin

    So, first off, please respond if you have something constructive to say. I'm beating myself up plenty - I don't need help with that.

    I haven't filed a tax return since 2004. I was employed to that point, and all my tax as an employee was sorted. Then I went freelance, got registered as a Provisional Tax Payer, and then proceeded to work freelance job by freelance job. I never put money aside for tax, and I never filed any returns or paid any provisional tax - I always just paid for the stuff right in front of me.

    I started working as an employee again Feb last year, and PAYE has been deducted and paid since then.

    Why am I in this situation? Initially, I simply couldn't afford to, living hand to mouth (which is pretty much how I've lived since then). Then I kept putting it off, telling myself that I'll sort it out later. Then, it became this big monster that I didn't know how to deal with. And it's not going away.

    Well, it's later, and I'm pretty damn scared, and I need to do whatever I can to fix it. I have a family dependent on me for livelihood and I so totally don't know what to do or where to start.

    I've just had a tax accountant check my status with SARS.

    I've got outstanding IT12's 2005 - 2011, 10 outstanding IRP6's, and despite not having submitted any returns, they have it on record that I owe something like R11000 in income tax.

    I have no assets and no savings. My whole income goes to expenses. I have steady work, and due to cutbacks in living arrangements I am shortly going to be able to pay something like R10000 a month over and above my normal tax - as I do work after hours as well - which I've not been taxed on yet.

    I certainly don't want to lie to SARS. Everything I've earned has come through my bank accounts. I've kept good records of the invoices I've been paid on. I'm pretty sure I can get the paperwork together. My concern is paying it all back. If they want a big lump sum, I don't know if I'll be able to raise it. As it is, I'll have to borrow it. How much do I owe? Alot. More than I can currently think about without wanting to be sick. And then there's penalties as well.

    No doubt by this stage, you're shaking your head and saying 'Ai, vooi tog' and thinking, 'Man, I'm so glad this isn't me.' Trust me, I know.

    At this point I am quite panicked, and I would sincerely appreciate having someone guidance as to what I should do to when presenting my case to SARS, what the likelihood is that I'll be able to repay this over time, or what. I want to pay what I owe, even if it takes me 20 years. As long as I can keep working and providing for my family.

  2. #2
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r6s10 View Post
    what the likelihood is that I'll be able to repay this over time
    Pretty good if you approach SARS and enter into an arrangement, especially if there isn't much prospect of them getting their money faster any other way.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Gold Member Martinco's Avatar
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    Good answer Dave ! The fact of the matter is that you will have to come clean with SARS, as putting this of will hurt even more in the long run.
    Best of luck !
    Martin Coetzee
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    You may never know what results will come from your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results... Rudy Malan 05/03/2011

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    I don't think you need to stress so much. There was also a time when I was a couple of years behind. They are just too happy for you to come forward of your own accord to sort the matter out. Last year my car licences were 9 months ovrdue because I had a couple of thousand rand worth of outstanding fines. I was also crapping myself. We bit the bullet one day and saw the magistrate over the fines - i plead poverty and got a 50% reduction which I paid. I then went for the licences expecting them to give me a hard time. The lady just said: Oh I see your licence is overdue, no problem, just pay this penalty".

    What can they do, at worst give you fine, so what, you owe them already so then you owe them a bit more.

    Relax.
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
    ~GS Elevator

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    similar situation

    Hi i am in a similar situation. Running a registered business were profits=expenses for 2 years. Not tax registered as i started freelance micro biz, and just been continuing from there. Any ideas where to start... ?

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I tortured myself the last time as to what to say - and ended up focusing on the "SARS is a monster that's going to destroy me" aspect in people's minds. Hopefully the other members' comments help reinforce the point I was trying to make - you can get past this if you commit to resolving it, and without getting ruined in the process.

    But you do have to commit.

    I get the sense that people are ending up in this situation because they were in survival mode. At that point you're pretty much stuck dealing with the problems right in your face. And you certainly don't have the space to look for more issues that might be lurking around the corner. There is little choice at that stage but to have an attitude of "I'll deal with it if and when it comes - right now I've got enough on my plate."

    Well, if you're reading this, I guess congratulations are in order - you've survived and got past that stage, and now you've got the space to look forward.

    The bad news is you now face new challenges.

    Up until now you've been pushed into doing what has to be done by circumstance. The quest for survival has told you what to do each day. Now you've got enough time to look forward; to see the future.

    The time has arrived where you need to take charge of your life and start managing your future, and most importantly, yourself.

    The way I did it when I reached this point was to draw a line between my future and my past. I resolved that this was a new start - the start of my planned life where I controlled my destiny. And I mapped out how I was going to move forward to that future I wanted, doing everything the right way from that day forward (including paying my taxes ).

    Now I didn't go into this mode with a clean slate; just like you I had debts including taxes. What I did is I bundled all that up into a mental bag called my past, and in my plan for the future I set a budget to pay off that debt each month. And one of my clear goals in planning my future was to get that bag of history paid off and out of my life for good.

    Every day of every month of every year, I made sure I didn't go backwards. I paid what came due as a result of what I was doing now, and every month I made sure I paid some money towards that bag of debt from the past.

    It was a slog, but let me tell you the day that bag of debt from history was paid up was one of the happiest days of my life - well worth the effort, sacrifices and personal discipline. In fact probably all the sweeter because of the slog.

    Thinking about this now, and going back to the thread title "I don't even know where to begin" - begin with a decision.

    Decide that this is the first day of the new you.
    Decide that from this day forward you are going to do things differently.
    You're not going to be a victim.
    Decide to take control of your life.

    Plan it.
    Commit to it.
    Make it happen.

    If you can't do that, I don't think I can really help you.
    From what I've experienced, I don't think there is a gentle transition solution - it takes a clear and decisive mental change of gears.
    Last edited by Dave A; 13-Aug-11 at 12:20 PM. Reason: addition
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  7. Thank given for this post:

    KimH (13-Aug-11), Yvonne (16-Aug-11)

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    Silver Member geraldenek's Avatar
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    Very well said Dave in your post.

    If you have outstanding returns and money owed to sars for income tax - get everything up to date and know exactly how much you owe. then make payments plans with them (they are very lenient with this matter i have done it numerous times on behalf of clients) but if you do make a payment plan (one that you can keep up to) just be sure you stick to it - don't fall behind on payments.

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