Tax Education & Information programme for government
SARS considers government to be the country’s first fiscal citizen. As such, we want to be sure that we provide necessary information to clarify and make it easy for government to fulfil its tax obligations. We have identified a few challenges where tax training will assist and are arranging for training sessions on these issues.
As reported recently by the Accountant General, new councils have been formed following the 2021 municipal elections, with a new electoral mandate. “It is now time to activate the accountability ecosystem to shift the culture in local government towards performance, integrity, transparency and accountability. This can be achieved through courageous, ethical, accountable, capable and citizen-centric leadership.”
To align to the aspirations mentioned above, SARS has been working with COGTA and SALGA to train new councillors as part of their induction programme this year. The emphasis is on their role as leaders who have oversight responsibility for municipal tax compliance status. SARS will be undertaking further training trough the SALGA platforms.
The AG also recently stated that municipalities now needed to focus on building their internal audit and financial management capacity, rather than outsourcing the function. “We have observed that Government is being charged contingency fees for work undertaken and will be engaging Government to assess how SARS can better support them to build internal and state capability,” the AG said.
SARS is presenting a number of training sessions in July and will inform you as soon as the dates are set. These pertain to:
- What needs to take place after SARS has concluded a PAYE Audit (pertaining to recovery of taxes from employees, amendment of IRP5s etc)
- The implications of acquiring electronic services from suppliers based out of the country
- A SARS Government Readiness Programme with basic information on all relevant tax types and how to use SARS processes and products effectively.
As July marks the beginning of individual Filing Season, we are including, in this edition, essential information for all state employees. This includes information on auto assessments as well as the importance of using registered tax practitioners.
The latter is critical as we have found that many people regard tax as a complex issue; hence tax practitioners’ services are sought. Although SARS has simplified the process through auto assessments, employees who do choose to use a tax practitioner, are urged to verify the registration status of the tax practitioner through the SARS website.
Opening of individual Filing Season
Importance of using only registered tax practitioners
SARS is aware that there are unregistered individuals who perform the functions of tax practitioners, especially at this time of year, when individual taxpayers tend to consult with tax professionals when completing their tax submissions. The registration of tax practitioners is important to ensure competency and ethical conduct when representing a taxpayer. Unregistered individuals sometimes bring the tax profession into disrepute, and SARS, Recognised Controlling Bodies (RCBs), registered tax practitioners and taxpayers need to work together to root out this problem.
The Tax Administration Act (TAA), S 234(c) states that: “A person who wilfully and without just cause, fails or neglects to register as a tax practitioner with SARS as required under section 240, is guilty of an offence and, upon conviction, is subject to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years.”
We have enabled and empowered our staff in the regions to identify individuals who are rendering services for a fee and who fail to register as tax practitioners. Where such individuals purport to be tax practitioners, SARS staff will put in the necessary steps to verify or authenticate them. If you come across such individuals, please notify SARS through [email protected].
For Filing Season 2022, SARS will again raise auto assessments for a selected group of individual taxpayers. Unlike last year, auto assessments this year will be original assessments. An auto assessment is raised based on data (we refer to this as third party data) that we receive from third party data providers like employers, financial institutions, medical schemes and so on.
A taxpayer who is auto assessed and who is satisfied that the SARS assessment is correct, does not have to do anything (unlike in the years before, where the taxpayer had to “accept” a simulated assessment before it became an original assessment). If a refund is due, the refund will be paid and if tax is due to SARS, the taxpayer must pay to SARS what is due.
A taxpayer who is auto assessed but is not satisfied that the assessment is correct must file a tax return in the normal way, within 40 business days of the notice of assessment. It is important to note that the dispute resolution route cannot be followed at this stage of the process. The taxpayer must file a tax return so that SARS can evaluate it and, where necessary, issue a revised assessment. However, if SARS decides that the original assessment is to remain (i.e., we do not issue a revised assessment in response to the taxpayer’s submission of a tax return after an auto assessments) then the taxpayer can use the dispute resolution route as per the normal process.
- SARS can extend the 40 business days referred to above if the taxpayer requests extension before the expiry of the 40 business days and submits reasonable grounds for the request.
- SARS can extend the 40 business days after the expiry of the 40 business days if the taxpayer’s request is submitted to SARS within 21 business days after the expiry of the 40 business days, and if accompanied by reasonable grounds.
- SARS can extend the 40 business days after the expiry of the 40 business days if the taxpayer’s request is submitted to SARS within 3 years after the expiry of the 40 business days, and if accompanied by exceptional circumstances.
Important dates for individuals – Filing Season 2022
1 July to 24 October 2022
- Non-provisional taxpayers who file online via eFiling or through the SARS MobiApp.
- Non-provisional taxpayers who cannot file online can do so at a SARS branch, only by appointment.
1 July 2022 to 23 January 2023
Taxpayers must book an appointment before visiting a SARS branch office
We encourage taxpayers to use our online channels to engage with us. In instances where a taxpayer is obliged to visit a SARS branch office, a taxpayer must first book an appointment via the SARS website.
As part of our drive to improve service to taxpayers, the SARS branch eBooking system enables taxpayers to request a video or telephonic engagement with SARS if they require assistance.
- When a taxpayer chooses a telephonic engagement, a SARS official calls on the date and time selected on the booking form.
- When a taxpayer chooses a video engagement (applicable to trusts, companies, representatives, and tax practitioners only), a SARS official will email a link to them to join a video meeting on the date and time that you selected on the booking form. Microsoft Teams is the preferred video conferencing tool used by SARS.
Share this important information with all those around you.
SARS Junior Board
As this is Youth Month, we would like to share with you one of our new initiatives to encourage young staff to become future leaders.
The Commissioner and the SARS leadership have established the SARS Junior Board in support of developing a high performing, diverse, agile, engaged, and evolved workforce. It adds a dimension of a multi-generational approach that balances the leadership experience with the boldness and fresh perspectives of young leaders.
Their mandate, under the leadership of Commissioner, is as follows:
- To form an integral component of the broader leadership platform led by Commissioner.
- To deliberate on the SARS Vision 2024, and strategic Intent and contribute to their insights and inputs to enrich the broader strategic conversations and accelerate positive and meaningful change.
- To engage in productive dialogue with the respective leadership forums to challenge conventional thinking and be the provocateurs of a different way of leading.
- To form a core group to catalyse a broader organisation conversation that elicits active participation from the rest of the under 35`s.
- To Add value in other creative and innovative ways, and
- Embark on a developmental orientation under the philosophy of “leading to learn and learning to lead”
SARS also publishes newsletters for the SMME and Tax Practitioner segments.