Service Charter

The service we want to offer you

This is our service commitment to you for Tax, Customs & Excise.

We have a new annual Service Charter with effect from 1 September 2023.

To access the Service Charter in different languages click on the links below:

To view the monthly Service Charter index click here.

Why reviewed and what has changed?

It has been adopted that SARS will review annually the service charter, mostly on committed service level metrics. In line with Strategic Objective 5 – “Increase the use of data to improve integrity, derive insight and improve outcomes”, we derived data insights on the lessons learnt that there are those metrics which over performed consistently in the financial year 2022/23 and a few that battled to even meet the expected service levels.

During the adoption of the service charter in 2022, we had informed external stakeholders that SARS will review some metrics upwards depending on improvement of efficiency and effectiveness. With the Commissioner’s approval, we have amplified some metrics to demonstrate that SARS lives by its promises. These changes were implemented from 1 July 2023 in the following categories, correspondences, registrations, returns, verifications, audit, refunds, payments, customs disputes, Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP) and Complaints Management Office (CMO).

It is a commitment to truly portray service obsession.

Your rights and obligations

You have a RIGHT to:

You have an OBLIGATION to:

Clarity and certainty (to be informed) of obligations to SARS

  • Be empowered & enabled as a taxpayer & trader proactively
  • Receive customized support
  • Have access to leverage products (digital & manual)
  • Participate in SARS surveys

Timeously engage, register and comply with legal obligations

  • Find out and honour due dates
  • Register for relevant tax and subscribe others as you meet minimum requirements
  • Withhold any trust tax money and pay it over to SARS on time

Excellent service irrespective of the method of engagement with SARS

  • Experience high quality service
  • SARS to exceed taxpayer’s expectations
  • Consistent service wherever one engages SARS
  • Service recovery on raised issue

Cooperate in full, and provide accurate and truthful information   through efficient and timeous engagement via appropriate channels

  • No understatement or over declaration
  • Engagement is through efficient and effective means or channel

Be heard, complain and lodge disputes that are resolved timeously

  • When not satisfied, engage the immediate supervisor / manager there
  • Escalate through SARS complaints processes
  • Request for reasons if one does not understand an outcome
  • Lodge an objection within prescribed timelines
  • Escalate to Office of Tax Ombud if exhausted SARS processes in disagreement with SARS on administrative matters

Provide all supporting documentation and information within the required timeframes

  • Acquaint with SARS issued letters on requested information
  • Safely store used data and or information used for tax purposes for minimum of five years
  • Observe timelines
  • Update SARS with current contact and banking information

Be treated without fear, favour, or prejudice by SARS in a confidential manner, within the relevant legislative framework

  • All to be equal before the law
  • No intimidation or harassment
  • No unfair treatment
  • No unlawful disclosure of taxpayer declared information
  • Be treated professionally by SARS

Act honestly and have respect for the tax system

  • Honour your tax obligations
  • Be loyal to the country & tax system
  • Assist in deterring non-compliance by reporting tax fraud and non-compliance with tax legislation
  • Refuse to collude or concealing criminality
  • Report any fraud or criminality you are aware of
  • Apply your fiscal citizenry responsibility all the time

Be represented by a professional

  • Ethically qualified certified and or accredited practitioner / agent can be authorized to handle your matters with SARS
  • All transactions done in the account by representative will be regarded as done by the taxpayer / trader
  • Representative will participate in stakeholders’ forum on taxpayer’s behalf to improve tax administration.

Accept personal responsibility for all SARS affairs and not abdicate accountability

  • Your tax reference number(s) and your credentials remain your identity and will be safely stored.
  • Representation does not delegate accountability and accountability
  • Whatever your representative is authorized to do, it is on your behalf.

Respect by all SARS officials

  • Courteous behavior all the times
  • Respect is mutual
  • Considered honest unless proven otherwise
  • Delightful service experience by all SARS officials

Respect for the legislative work done by all SARS officials

  • Accept an enquiry / transaction outcome to have been done faithfully
  • Will be factual in all transactions
  • Accept that voluntary compliance is taxpayer’s responsibility
  • Avoid tax evasion and illegal tax avoidance.

Our scope and service timeframes

The SARS Service Charter covers the following areas:

  • Engagement with SARS
  • Registration
  • Returns
  • Customs Declaration
  • Verification
  • Audit
  • Refunds
  • Payments
  • Debt
  • Disputes
  • Tax Clearance Status
  • Voluntary Disclosure programme
  • Service Failures
  • Complaints to the Tax Ombud

For the detail on the service timeframes, see the link to the detailed Service Charter above.

How do I complain to SARS?

If you are unhappy with SARS’s service after following the normal processes, you may complain:

  • Through SARS eFiling or
  • By calling the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277 or
  • By calling the SARS Complaints Office at 0800 12 12 16 or
  • At a SARS Branch by making an appointment

For more information see the SARS Complaints Process.

How do I complain to the Tax Ombud?

If you have exhausted all complaint processes in SARS or have compelling circumstances, you may lodge a complaint with the office of the Tax Ombud:

  • Call the toll-free call centre on 0800 662 837 or
  • Call +27 12 431 9105 or
  • Email [email protected].

For information, see the Tax Ombud complaint process.

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