The SARS income tax filing season opens 1 July 2018, which means some of you may be receiving a refund.

If you’re not quite sure what do with your tax return payout, below are a few tips on how you can practically utilise your extra cash.

Granted, it may be tempting to splurge on that expensive handbag you’ve been eyeing for some time now, however it’s important to start off with the seemingly less glamorous option of settling any outstanding debt you may have. Trust me, your future-self will thank you!

Pay off your debt

Settling debt is arguably the most sensible way to spend your money. Assess your debt and prioritise the ones that bear the highest interest rate. This is usually your credit card and personal loans.

Invest in your career/studies

Personal development is a critical area in the life of a professional (at least for me it is). Remember to set money aside to pursue a course(s) aligned to your goals. Otherwise, consider settling your outstanding tuition fees.

Invest in your children’s education

If you have children, you’re probably aware of escalating cost of education. Invest in their education by boosting their Education Plan, or pay a lump-sum towards their school fees/tuition.

Boost your saving

If you’re in the enviable position of being debt-free, consider putting a portion of your refund towards your savings as well as your retirement savings.

Take a sho’t left

‘Sho’t left’ is a South African term that is derived from everyday South African “taxi lingo”. A commuter wanting a ride to a destination close by will say “Sho’t left, driva” – meaning, I want to jump off just around the corner. SA Tourism launched the Sho’t Left campaign several years ago. This campaign challenged locals to travel and  explore the country, and essentially to “see the world differently,” even when only visiting family or friends in the country.

What am I saying? A holiday need not hit your pocket hard. You can book a local trip. Ensure that you do your research and shop around for the best season and travel dates that will allow you to get the best trip for your money.

Attend to some renovations at home

Home maintenance is something we tend to put on the back burner (I’m guilty of this lately). Consider giving a part of your home a “facelift”, be it painting the kitchen, fixing a leak in the children’s bedroom, etc. I am going to invest in new cushions for the lounge and my husband will reupholster our lounge suite. (This is what happens when you have a toddler in the house – *sigh*).

Treat yourself

We all have varying ideas about what pampering entails; the important thing is to do whatever makes you happy. For me, it’s certainly going to be a day at the spa. My body needs this!

You work hard for your money after all, and deserve to spoil yourself a little. I say: Work hard, have fun, save, repeat! Most importantly, spend that extra cash sensibly!


You may have seen reports in the media recently, confirming that SARS has shortened the filing season by three weeks, running from 1 July to 31 October 2018; see media briefing statement here. The rationale behind implementing a shorter filing season is to allow SARS, taxpayers and the tax fraternity additional time to deal with verifications before most taxpayers ho on the December holiday break. Don’t miss the deadline!


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

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