IRP5 FAQ (2023)

Every tax season you find people running around trying to do the needful, and you are just amazed by how many people find the whole tax issue confusing. Some people even receive messages from the Tax Office, and then they completely panic! With good reason; you do not want to be on the wrong side of the law as regards tax; that could put one in all kinds of trouble.

But all of that is quite avoidable; if you take timely action and remit your taxes accurately and timely, then you should have nothing to worry about. The first step towards accurately filing your tax returns is accurately compiling how much you earned during the past financial year. That is where the IRP5 form comes in.

In this post we will talk about the IRP5 form, what it is, how important it is, how to apply for it, where to get it, as well as so many other bits of information that you could need to properly utilize the IRP5 form, and so avoid the headache that comes with unintentional tax evasion. 

What Does IRP5 Stand For?

IRP5 is the code for a form that summarizes your earnings for the year. The IRP5 is a summary of your incomes and deductions for the previous financial year. The financial year is counted from March of one year to February of the next one. This is how the tax you should pay to SARS for the year is calculated.

How do I Apply for IRP5?

In order to get your IRP5 you just have to go to the SARS e-filler website, and select the IRP5. You then get the option of filling it online, or downloading, and printing it. The form is free for all taxpayers, tax practitioners, and businesses. You can use the portal to calculate and make tax payments online, immediately. 

When Should I Receive my IRP5?

You should get your IRP5 (issued by your employer) after the end of the tax year- that is February.  If, however, you don’t receive an IRP5 and no amount of pleading with them will help, you can go to the SARS e-filler website and then download a copy.

How do I check my IRP5 Status?

You can go to the SARS eFiling website and then check on your profile to see if your IRP5 has been submitted to SARS. This should have been done by your employer. This can be done by requesting your Tax Return in eFiling and it should be already populated with your IRP5 details.

Can I Get My IRP5 from SARS?

Ordinarily, you would not need to get an IRP5 by yourself; your employer should have done that for you. however, you would need to get the IRP5 form by yourself if you are self-employed, or if you contract for a company that is not bound by South African tax laws. If you have not had tax deducted from your salary, you will not receive an IRP5. 

In this case, you need to go to the SARS eFiling website, and then tick the opening wizard to indicate you received “Local Business Trade and Professional Income.” Of course, you will then need to fill in the details in the relevant section.

You have made the best decision by trying to ensure that you are on the right side of the tax laws, by getting the IRP5 form by yourself. However, it may be a good idea to question whether or not you are being fairly treated by your employer. This is because most employers who shy away from reporting employee tax are usually the same kind of people who fail to pay their workers the proper wages and take care of workers.

How do I get an old IRP5?

If you lost an old IRP5, and you need to have on some kind of official records, then you should contact your old employer with whom you worked at the time, and request a copy. If the company no longer exists and you cannot obtain an IRP5, the available option would be to go to a police station and swear an affidavit to this effect. Whatever official document you wanted the old IRP5 for should also accept an affidavit.

Does the IRP5 Expire?

IPR5 is completed every year and is a summary of your earnings and deductions for the last tax year. Despite the fact that you will be issued with a new one at the end of the new tax year, it cannot expire.

Who is Responsible for the IRP5?

It is the employer’s responsibility to furnish his employees with IRP5 tax certificates. The IRP5 indicates that all employers should make the tax remittances directly to SARS who are responsible for the administration of all tax-related matters in South Africa.

However, in the event that you are a freelancer, a self-employed person, or if you work for a company that does not make tax remittances to the South African government, then it becomes your direct responsibility to fill the IRP5, and make all other proper documentation with the South African Revenue Service.

Is your Tax Number on IRP5?

Yes, your tax number also called (SARS number) is indicated on your IRP5 document. 

When can I Submit my IRP5?

The IRP5 is due for submission to the tax authorities at the end of each tax year. The South African tax year usually runs from March of one year to February of the next. Please remember that ideally, this should be the duty of your employer. Your employer should pay all deductable taxes directly to the SARS, and then issue you with an IRP5 certificate showing the earning and deductions for the year under review.

However, if you are self-employed then you can visit the SARS e filler website, and then provide your earnings and then make the payments. You should do this at the regular time, at the end of the tax year.

Can I have multiple IRP5’s e-Filing in one year?

Sometimes, when one is engaged by multiple employers, or when one is employed but still also doing business on his own, or still also engaged in a contract or some other activity through which he receives a lump sum of money, one is required by law to make this earning known to the tax authorities, and so pay the proper amount in taxes. In order to do this one may have to use multiple IRP5 tax forms.

On the first page of the eFiling wizard, just enter the number of IRP5’s that you have in the number entry box. After doing that, you just have to click the button to generate your tax return form. Of course, you will then be presented with multiple empty IRP5 documents for you to fill in. 

You do not have to worry about adding up any amounts or trying to combine multiple earnings into one IRP5 form. Just go ahead and include each IRP5 separately on your single ITR12 tax return for the year. Your ITR12 has provisions for you to fill in the details in this way.

 The e-Filing allows you to add up to 15 IRP5s, but if you have more, you can present the first 14 separately, and then add all the income for the rest of the IRP5s together on the last one. 

Should I correct my IRP5 myself?

Sometimes the question arises whether or not one is allowed to make corrections on his IRP5 when it is observed that there are wrong entries. You may want to know if you should submit it as received, or make changes. If you have noticed any wrong entries or if your bank details are not correct, this is the correct thing to do.

You would need to contact your employers and then request them to reissue you the correct document both to you and SARS. Furthermore, there is no need for you to make changes to your banking details on the IRP5 you can fix them on your tax return yourself.

What to do when SARS needs an IRP5 which I never received?

Sometimes you did not receive an IRP5 perhaps while working with a previous employer, or sometimes even with a present employer who just cannot locate the IRP5 form. Sometimes, that can affect the refunds which you should receive from SARS, because SARS may ask for verification. 

In that case, you should then go to the police station and swear an affidavit that you are unable to retrieve the IRP5. The police will issue you with an affidavit which is a legally binding document. You then take the affidavit with you to the SARS office, they will submit your return for you. You can also upload this affidavit onto the eFiling portal on the SARS website.



Filling your tax returns not only makes you a good citizen, it also reduces the mental tension that can come with being on the wrong side of the law. The major issue is that tax matters are not always straightforward, and easy to understand. In fact, this is not peculiar to South Africa; many people in many countries find themselves unable to properly file their tax returns. That is why it is to the people’s advantage that their employers file the IRP5 directly, and only provide certificates to the employees. 

Furthermore, this can be taken as a yardstick by which the employer is measured as to whether it is a good company with the interest of the workers in mind. This is because companies who fail to file tax returns are usually the same ones that fail to make contributions to employee provident funds, and employee insurance schemes.