I remember how stunned I was back in 2016 when my daughter, Zinathi, who was 3 months old at the time had to be registered with SARS for tax purposes.

I had taken the decision to take her to an agency, and upon registration as a “model” (laughs), I was advised that she would need to be registered for tax. This was because she would, potentially, earn an income. I was quite delighted when she did, in fact, earn some money for commercials we shot for a nappy/diaper brand. (ka-ching! This money is safely set aside for her to utilise one day).

Thankfully, the agency assisted with the registration process; which is usually quite swift when all the relevant documentation is produced. As a new mom, who was slightly overwhelmed by motherhood, this brought some level of relief. I don’t like admin, particularly not with a demanding 3-month-old in my midst. I received an sms notifying me that Zinathi was a registered taxpayer.

In my line of work, where minor beneficiaries are concerned, we tend to correspond mostly with the guardian. I, therefore, took it for granted that minors can actually be registered as taxpayers.

Does SARS allow minors to register for income tax?

A minor can in fact be registered as a taxpayer. This is in terms of section 67(1) of the Income Tax Act that “every person who at any time becomes liable for any normal tax or who becomes liable to submit any return contemplated in section 66 must apply to the Commissioner to be registered as a taxpayer in accordance with Chapter 3 of the Tax Administration Act.”  If the minor therefore becomes liable to submit a return or becomes liable for any normal tax, the minor must be registered as a taxpayer. (source: SAIT)

When your child attains majority

In terms of our law, a child attains majority on their 18th birthday. When they attain the age of 18 years, they have full legal capacity. They can therefore, register for tax purpose without any assistance.

Many of our clients struggle with this adjustment. I will not dictate when the right time is to “cut the cord” where children’s finances are concerned. My advice is, where the child (who is a major) still requires guidance where their finances – which in my experience is usually the case; collaborate with them. See a financial advisor together and agree on a financial plan. Review this financial plan as circumstance change in his/her life. It is also vital to instill this behaviour from an early age.

Supporting documents

Below is information to note when changing particulars, a child’s surname for example:

If you are an individual and you need to register as a taxpayer or make changes to your surname, first name, initials, date of birth, identity number or passport number, passport country or marital status, you will need the following documents as proof of your identity:

  • Certified or uncertified copy of a valid identity document, driving licence, passport, temporary identity document, asylum seekers certificate or permit together with the original identification.
  • A date is not required on the certification stamp; as the original ID is required when visiting a branch.
  • If you are a minor, a certified or uncertified copy of your birth certificate together with a copy of the one of the parent’s/guardian’s identity document. If there is no surviving parent, the death certificate of one parent must be provided by the appointed guardian.
  • If you are represented by a legal guardian, a letter confirming legal guardianship or a court order.
  • Note that prior to 1 November 2016 this was named ‘Unabridged Birth Certificate’.
  • Where only a new ID is presented without a marriage certificate or ‘old’ ID, the marriage certificate is required.

Top Tip: If you’re an eFiler, you will be able to change some your personal details via eFiling. Instead of going into a SARS Branch, see which changes can be made via eFiling.



Disclaimer: Nothing in this post should be construed as constituting tax advice or a tax opinion. An expert should be consulted for advice based on the facts and circumstances of each transaction/case.

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