The deadline for manually filing our tax returns passed on 18 September this year, and the deadline for electronically filing (e-filing) is coming up fast on 20 November.
A day or two ago, I received the following email, ostensibly from the South African Revenue Services (at least, that’s what it said in the signature and in the email address – firstname.lastname@example.org):
“Tax Refund Notification”
After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity, we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of 2,482.50 ZAR. Please submit the tax refund request and allow 6-9 days in order to process it.
Click Here to submit you tax refund request
Note : A refund can be delayed a variety of reasons, for example submitting invalid records or applying after deadline.
South African Revenue Service.
I was about to get all excited, when I realised:
- I hadn’t submitted my return yet, so – unless SARS officials were now working telepathically – it was highly unlikely that they’d already worked out I warranted a refund;
- SARS would never use a fancy phrase like “after the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity”;
- There was a grammatical error in “Click Here to submit you [instead of your] tax refund request”;
- There were two words missing in the Note, i.e. “A refund can be delayed [for] a variety of reasons” and “applying after [the] deadline”; and
- the email system had spam-filtered this tempting email.
Then, this morning on the news, someone from SARS warned that there were various emails of this format doing the rounds, but that these were all phishing attempts (see SARS warns of new ‘phishing’ scam).
They sure are clever blighters.