SARS Implemented Changes – 3 Reasons You Need to Rethink Submitting Your Annual Personal Income Tax Return Today
This year SARS has not only updated their e-filing platform but also made some other notable announcements. Today we’re looking at what this means for the individual taxpayer and if these changes are something to be worried about. Let’s dig in!
In June this year SARS announced that if you (that would be all personal income taxpayers) earn less than R500,000 a year there would be no need to submit a tax return. This limit was set at R350,000 previously. While this sounded like an announcement to celebrate to most, there are hidden implications that few have thought of when they started celebrating not having to submit returns to SARS anymore. Now it also needs to be said that there are conditions attached to this announcement and this was the first bit of crucial information that I saw neglected as people started sharing this announcement in great celebratory fashion on social media. I had a distinct “uh oh” moment when I saw the comments of course, with total disregards for the conditions accompanying this announcement!
3 Possible Implications
At the moment, there are five possible implications that could be highlighted as concerns. So, why would not submitting a return this year get you into hot water later or have you pulling your hair out?
#1 An unbroken record
If you have been submitting returns for the last few years, you are already in the routine of submitting your returns. So why not continue to do so? Yes, I know you hate dealing with SARS! To tell you the truth very few people find it enjoyable, do they? The thing is, up to date you’ve had an unbroken record, don’t you think it’s worth it to keep it that way? What will happen if SARS suddenly changes their minds…AGAIN? And now you have to suddenly run around, compiling docs because you slacked off with your filing… No, that’s not for me!
#2 Need a Tax Clearance Certificate?
You might need one you. Why? To borrow money! Should there ever be a need for you to borrow money of a long term nature i.e. a mortgage for a property, you will usually be requested to provide a TCC (Tax Clearance Certificate) which can only be obtained if ALL returns are submitted and up to date with no outstanding payments, penalties or interest of course.
#3 You won’t get your refund
I left the most meaningful one (to me and of course all sole proprietors like me) for last. If you have been bargaining on that refund cause you overpaid on tax you won’t receive one cent if you don’ submit that return.
I hope you found this blog informative! Remember if you have any concerns or specific queries please do contact your registered tax practitioner with your questions. Make sure you are informed. Everything isn’t as black and white as it seems. With SARS in any case!
The importance of being consistent
To be able to be a top-notch Virtual Assistant, is it extremely important to make sure that you understand that keeping your clients happy and building loyalty takes time. To build this trust you need to build a foundation for a sound working relationship and you need to deliver a consistently high standard of work on an ongoing basis. As a Virtual Assistant, you need to remember that your client’s confidence in you and VA Connect will only increase if you continue to deliver a high standard of work within the deadlines provided to you by your client.
The road is never smooth and naturally, there will be obstacles that need to be overcome. Your clients will understand and they will forgive an occasional mistake, provided the issue is handled quickly and in a professional manner. Clients need to be confident that you will deliver on your deadlines every time, rather than only when it may be convenient for you.
When it comes to flying the VA Connect flag high, there are a few points you need to remember. One spends a considerable amount of time at work and building healthy positive relationships with your clients through consistently high-quality work helps retain your clients and makes for a happy day at work. Bear in mind that all the work that you do for VA Connect ultimately reflects on the VA Connect brand.
If a chink in the armour develops it is up to you to make sure that the issue is resolved timeously. As a Virtual Assistant, it is imperative that your client’s bad experiences are kept to an absolute minimum, even when your service is not necessarily at its highest level. One needs to remember that your client’s journey with VA Connect begins with many promises and expectations. It is up to the Virtual Assistant to deliver on these promises. Your work ethic and quality of work can make or break your client’s expectations. To put this into perspective, a client will tell people about the great service that they have received from VA Connect, however, they will tell even more people about the bad experience that they had with the service.
As the business world takes on a different working environment, clients have a much larger voice than they did in the past and are therefore a lot more demanding and pay more attention to detail. You simply cannot allow any part of the client experience to be jeopardised, as this will ultimately affect the VA brand as a whole. The only way to ensure ongoing success is to pay attention to detail and to provide an impeccable service on an ongoing basis. All virtual assistants need to make sure that they remain focused on the task at hand and strive to consistently achieve and surpass the high standards and deadlines provided by their clients.
By setting consistent goals you ensure your long term success and in turn manage your client’s expectations.
Setting boundaries and rules whilst maintaining good work ethic as a VA
Developing your boundaries is a crucial step to creating and maintaining a healthy relationship with your clients.
Boundaries come in many shapes and forms and when you consider that you are working with many different personalities who may not think the same way. It’s really important that you teach them how to treat you. If you let someone cross your boundaries, they will be taught that it’s okay. Set your boundaries, and then stick to them. You’ll run a better business, and your clients will appreciate it too!
Boundaries are key to a successful VA/Client relationship. Make sure that time, energy, and integrity are protected for everyone involved. The biggest and most rewarding client interactions come from my boundaries around communication.
Your clients will appreciate knowing the rules and respect you for setting and communicating them with confidence.
Focus on Exceptional Communication
- Timely, efficient communication should be a priority. Of course, communication with a single client should not consistently and unreasonably encroach on your personal time or negatively affect your productivity. However, being available demonstrates that your client’s project and satisfaction are important to you.
- In addition to timely and thorough communication, it’s also important to make your clients feel comfortable being open and honest with you. They should feel that their ideas and concerns will be taken seriously.
It is all about compromise
Yes it really is all about compromise especially when you are working as a virtual assistant. Concentrate on doing most of your work during working hours, be available when there is a crisis and turn your phone/ laptop off when you need a bit of YOU time!
Obviously it does not matter what boundaries we set and precautions we take, other people are not always going to follow our lead. It’s up to us to set, and keep, those boundaries, no matter how difficult it might be at the time. I would say that it’s vital to our health to do this.
Good work ethics, transparency and personal integrity are three key aspects that every virtual assistant needs. We define integrity for a virtual worker as having personal standards that will not be broken by the opinion of others.
Rules to follow
- First, do not create situations that you will later regret.
- Second, people will act as we allow them to. If you don’t say something when something isn’t right, then the person assumes it is okay.
- Third, professionally communicate when setting boundaries yet be firm.
Action steps to implement:
- Develop your ideal day.
- Set your boundaries based on your ideal day.
- Communicate those boundaries to potential and current clients
- Address any issues immediately before it gets out of hand and becomes a strain on the working relationship.
Setting healthy boundaries is good for you and your client. It teaches them how to work with you in a way that stimulates win-win situations.
Effective boundaries create positive client relationships.
Tactics to Positively Overcome the Difficult Client
Irrespective of what industry you are in, there is always that odd difficult client that as a result of various factors can leave you feeling frustrated, angry, unmotivated and possibly even full of self-doubt. For some of us, the reaction to a difficult situation can be defensive for others it can be offensive which can have either positive of negative outcomes regardless.
Stepping out of your comfort zone to establish smart habits
The fact remains that there will always be clients that are a little harder to please than others, so the question at hand is, how do you handle those situations in a way that will have a positive outcome for both you and the client? Well, while in my previous role, I had done some research on the topic and I came across an article by Barbara Markway (Ph.D.) who has some excellent insight into handling difficult clients, which I will delve into a little further, but one of the factors she mentions amongst others is going about things in a way that may seem unnatural to you as first. What does this mean? Well simply put, we all have our ways of doing things, and sometimes it works other times it doesn’t but if your finding your not getting the outcome you want from a difficult situation – perhaps its time to step outside your comfort zone, try a new approach and create smart habits.
Some Tactics to be Used with the Client
Out of the many tips given in Barbara’s article, the following tactics on how to handle a difficult client stood out to me:
- Listen & Stay Calm. Listening is the number one step in dealing with “unreasonable” people. Everyone wants to feel heard, and although staying calm can be extremely difficult in an emotionally charged situation, real progress can’t take place until the other person feels acknowledged. While you’re listening, really focus on what the other person is saying, not what you want to say next. I have often said to people in the past, “I know your hearing me, but are you listening to me? There is a difference”. Taking the time to really listening to what someone else is saying, can give you a fresh perspective and clarity on a situation at hand.
- Reflect respect and dignity toward the other person. You don’t know what the other person is going through. Chances are, if a person is acting unreasonable, they are likely feeling some sort of emotional or mental strain for whichever reason and showing contempt will not help productively resolve the situation.
- Saying, “I understand,” usually makes things worse. Instead, say, “Tell me more so I can understand better.” This for me was an interesting point, because I personally have often used the term “I understand” countless times with clients and looking back it wasn’t always well received, looking at this approach has given me a new perspective on how a client would possible react to the situation differently.
- Saying, “I’m sorry,” or, “I’m going to try to fix this,” while establishing boundaries can go a long way toward defusing many situations. This tip can be quite difficult to follow when you feel your not the one in the wrong and are feeling defensive. Sometimes by being humble in the situation and saying the words “I’m sorry” or “I’m going to fix this” can completely diffuse a situation, and in turn can give you the opportunity to establish the hidden need. The client could end up disclosing what they are really trying to gain or avoid within the project/ task and positive outcome can take place for both parties. Having said that, you will also need to assess the situation, while some of the above tips have encouraged listening and letting the angry person vent, you also have the right to be assertive and say, “Please don’t talk to me like that.” if the situation is gets out of hand.
Some Tactics to be Used with Yourself
Handling a difficult client with some of the tactics, may be draining for you which would defeat the purpose of positively overcoming difficult clients, that’s what there are also a few things you should do:
- Debrief. After the situation is over, talk to someone about what happened, take 5 minutes to make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and just allow yourself to process the situation.
- Discharge your own stress. You had to put your natural reactions on hold for a while. Now is the time to discharge some of that pent-up adrenaline. Go for a run. Take your dog for a walk. Don’t let the emotions stay stuck in your body.
- Give yourself credit for getting through an uncomfortable situation. It takes a lot of energy not to act like a jerk when someone else is behaving badly. Don’t skip this step!
Positive Outlook, Positive Outcome
Remember these tactics are simply guidelines to help you along the way. How you implement these tactics is up to you, and maybe they won’t give you a positive outcome every time, but its all about trying and keeping at it until you establish smart habits that work for you. If you do not have the time or cannot see yourself dealing with difficult clients that’s ok, perhaps consider getting a VA to deal with your Client Relationship Management and can implement strategies for you! I have seen how these tactics have worked for me, and to this day some of the best connections and relationships that I have established in my career have been as a result of a rocky start with some pretty difficult clients. The key to all of this however is to always have a positive outlook, and having said this I will end with a quote by Lailah Akita “Our reaction to any situation will determine the outcome”
Using New Year’s Resolutions to embrace 2019 and become the best you!
Can you believe 2019 if finally here? It’s been a long and exciting 2018, but as all good things, this too has come to an end. It’s time to reflect on things that helped shape us and brought us were we are today but it’s also time for new things so you can make 2019 just as memorable, and more importantly a huge success.
I don’t have a long list of new year’s resolutions. I don’t trust myself to keep with them and hate disappointment. So three things tops my list this year and hopefully I’ll be able to keep up.
My 2019 strategy
In 2019 I will be working harder towards my health. My health journey started in August 2018, took a plunge in December and I’m picking it up again in Jan. I’m not only talking about physical health but mental health as well. Healthy body, healthy mind. Looking after your mental health is vital as it affects every aspect of your life, social, family and career. I plan on working on my focus and my planning abilities. I’m not quite sure how to go about it yet but I guess that’s part of the journey. I’ve already started getting some tools together like my shiny new 2019 diary, I’ve used the Headspace app before for meditation and realized that I don’t even have 5 minutes of peace and quite in my house… I’ll try and pick that up again. I’m also reading Getting Things Done by David Allan. I’ve only heard great things about him and this book so hopefully I’ll be able to implement his strategies into my own work-life balance.
The second resolution is to be a better human being. Upskilling yourself is so easy, all you need is the will power and the drive (the time as well but if you have enough drive, you will make the time). I’ve planned out 12 courses I want to take this year to help me broaden my skillset. They range from digital marketing to nutrition (bonus because it helps with resolution number one). I’ve had the same resolution last year and only managed to complete one. It feels as though I stumbled into and through 2018 but with some help I’m sure I’ll be able to master the goal this year.
Finally, yet importantly, the easiest resolution… To make a bucket list and start ticking of some stuff I’ve always wanted to do but have never gotten to. The idea is to get out in the world and make yourself heard. I’m sure that finally visiting that networking event or contacting that client will boost my career in the right direction.
The New Year is usually a time to reflect but also a time for new things, a fresh start, a blank slate. Why not take it with both hands and embrace this gift you get to open each year and become the best you that you can possibly be!