Generally, an assessment is issued immediately upon the submission of your income tax return.  Once assessed the system will indicate whether your return has been selected for verification.  If the return was selected for verification an official letter will be issued.  This means that you are required to provide SARS with copies of the supporting documentation that was used to complete your return. 

The letter will indicate what the due date for the submission of these documents are and a link will be available on eFiling to upload and submit the documents.   Once the documents have been submitted to SARS, they have 21 working days to process these documents.  They may also proceed to request additional documents at any stage.  If the verification is not finalised within 21 business days from the date of the submission of all the supporting documents, you may request that the matter be escalated.  

If you fail to provide SARS with the relevant supporting documentation, they will proceed to issue an additional assessment based on the information they have available.  SARS may also proceed to impose an understatement penalty which varies from 0% to 200% depending on the particular circumstances.

In some instances, your tax return will not be assessed immediately and a note, stating that there are certain aspects of your return that requires manual intervention, will appear.  This is typically the case if you have indicated that you ceased to be a resident on your tax return. The standard turnaround time for the processing of these tax returns are 90 business days.  Upon the lapse of the turnaround time, you may proceed to have the matter escalated.  

Note that if you have a refund due to you and the return was selected for verification, the refund will not be refunded until such time that the verification has been finalised by SARS.