Quick Summary


Welcome to our guide on how to retrieve a forgotten SARS tax number! Your South African Revenue Service (SARS) tax number is a crucial piece of identification required for various financial and tax-related activities. However, it’s not uncommon for individuals to misplace or forget their tax numbers due to various reasons. In this comprehensive article, we’ll walk you through the steps to recover your SARS tax number, ensuring you can access essential financial services and fulfill your tax obligations without hassle.

Why is Your SARS Tax Number Important?

Your SARS tax number is more than just a random string of digits – it’s a key identifier that grants you access to a range of financial services and facilitates compliance with tax laws in South Africa. Here’s why your SARS tax number is essential:

  1. Tax Filing: Your tax number is required when filing annual tax returns with SARS. Whether you’re an individual taxpayer or a business entity, your tax number ensures accurate reporting of income and deductions.
  2. Employment: When you start a new job, your employer will request your tax number for payroll and tax purposes. Your tax number enables them to deduct the correct amount of tax from your salary and make contributions to statutory funds such as UIF and PAYE.
  3. Financial Transactions: Many financial institutions, including banks and investment firms, require your tax number to open accounts, apply for loans, or make certain transactions. It helps them comply with regulatory requirements and verify your identity.
  4. Business Operations: If you’re a business owner, your tax number is essential for registering your company with SARS, applying for tax clearance certificates, and conducting various tax-related activities such as VAT registration and PAYE submissions.

In essence, your SARS tax number serves as a unique identifier that links you to your tax records and financial activities. Without it, you may encounter difficulties in fulfilling your tax obligations, accessing financial services, or conducting business transactions.

Common Reasons for Forgetting Your SARS Tax Number

Despite its importance, it’s not uncommon for individuals to forget their SARS tax numbers. Several factors can contribute to this, including:

  1. Change in Personal Circumstances: Life events such as moving to a new address, changing jobs, or getting married/divorced can disrupt your record-keeping and lead to misplaced tax documents.
  2. Lack of Regular Use: If you don’t frequently engage in tax-related activities or keep up-to-date records, you may forget your tax number over time, especially if it’s not easily accessible.
  3. Misplacement of Documents: Your tax number may be recorded on various documents such as tax returns, IRP5 certificates, or correspondence from SARS. Misplacing or losing these documents can make it challenging to retrieve your tax number when needed.
  4. Memory Lapses: In some cases, individuals simply forget their tax numbers due to memory lapses or lack of organization. With multiple passwords and identification numbers to remember, it’s easy for your tax number to slip your mind.

Understanding the common reasons for forgetting your SARS tax number can help you take proactive steps to prevent its loss in the future. In the following sections, we’ll explore practical strategies for retrieving your tax number and safeguarding it against future mishaps.

Steps to Retrieve a Forgotten SARS Tax Number

If you’ve found yourself in the frustrating situation of forgetting your SARS tax number, don’t worry – there are several steps you can take to retrieve it. Here’s a detailed guide on how to recover your forgotten SARS tax number:

1. Contacting SARS Directly

The most direct way to retrieve your SARS tax number is by contacting SARS directly. You can do this by:

  • Call Center: Reach out to SARS through their dedicated call center and speak to a representative who can assist you with the process.
  • In-Person Visit: Alternatively, you can visit a SARS branch in person and speak to a consultant who can guide you through the necessary steps.

Be prepared to provide personal information such as your full name, ID number, and any other details required to verify your identity.

2. Checking Previous Tax-Related Documents

Reviewing past tax-related documents can also help you locate your tax number. Check documents such as:

  • Tax Returns: Your tax number may be printed on previous tax returns that you’ve filed with SARS.
  • IRP5 Certificates: Look for your tax number on IRP5 certificates provided by your employer, which detail your income and tax deductions.
  • Tax Assessment Notices: Your tax number may also be included on tax assessment notices sent to you by SARS.

3. Checking Your eFiling Account

If you’ve registered for SARS eFiling, log in to your account and navigate to the profile or settings section. Your tax number should be listed there. If you’ve forgotten your eFiling login details, use the “Forgot Password” or “Forgot Username” options to recover your account.

4. Reviewing Bank Statements

In some cases, your tax number may be mentioned on bank statements, particularly if you’ve received tax refunds or made tax payments in the past. Review your statements to see if you can find your tax number mentioned anywhere.

5. Visiting a SARS Branch in Person

If you’re unable to retrieve your tax number through the above methods, consider visiting a SARS branch in person and explaining your situation. A consultant will assist you in the process of recovering your tax number and may require you to provide identification documents to verify your identity.

Tips for Preventing Future Loss of Your SARS Tax Number

To avoid the inconvenience of forgetting your SARS tax number in the future, consider implementing the following tips:

  • Keep Digital Copies: Store digital copies of your tax-related documents in a secure location, such as a password-protected folder on your computer or cloud storage service.
  • Set Reminders: Set reminders on your calendar or mobile device to periodically check and update your tax information, including your tax number.
  • Record in a Safe Place: Keep a physical or digital record of your tax number in a safe and easily accessible location, such as a personal organizer or encrypted note-taking app.
  • Stay Organized: Maintain organized records of your financial and tax-related documents to ensure you can quickly locate your tax number when needed.

By following these tips, you can minimize the risk of losing or forgetting your SARS tax number in the future, ensuring smooth compliance with tax obligations and financial transactions.


In conclusion, retrieving a forgotten SARS tax number may seem daunting, but with the right approach, it can be resolved efficiently. By following the steps outlined in this guide and implementing preventive measures to safeguard your tax number, you can ensure uninterrupted access to financial services and compliance with tax laws in South Africa. Remember to keep your tax number in a secure place and stay vigilant in maintaining your tax records. If you have any further questions or need assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to SARS or consult with a tax professional.

Author’s Note

As we conclude this guide on retrieving a forgotten SARS tax number, I want to emphasize the importance of proactive tax management and record-keeping. Your SARS tax number is a critical identifier that facilitates various financial transactions and ensures compliance with tax laws. While forgetting your tax number can be inconvenient, it’s not uncommon, and there are practical steps you can take to recover it.

Remember, maintaining organized records, keeping digital copies of important documents, and setting reminders can help prevent future loss or forgetfulness of your tax number. By staying proactive and vigilant, you can navigate the complexities of tax administration more effectively and minimize potential disruptions to your financial activities.

If you found this guide helpful, please consider sharing it with others who may benefit from the information. Additionally, feel free to reach out to SARS or consult with a tax professional if you have any further questions or need assistance with your tax-related matters.

Thank you for reading, and best of luck in managing your tax affairs responsibly.

Brief Note about the author.

Kimbowa Geofrey
Business & Financial Analyst

I am Kimbowa Geofrey, a go-getter, It is my passion that drives me in all I do but also the personal improvement that I experience.
My story started about 8 years back, trying one business to another, it wasn’t easy at the start because I didn’t get exactly what I expected out of these businesses and my frustration grew. Luckily I stumbled upon three businesses that changed my life; Web hosting, web development, and blogging.
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