SARS introduces new Service Charter
SARS has adopted a new Service Charter that clarifies our service commitment to South African taxpayers and traders for tax, customs and excise. The Charter also sets out the rights and obligations of taxpayers and traders and is effective from 1 April.
The new charter is in pursuance of a strategic intent to develop a tax system based on voluntary compliance, whilst supporting the organisation’s ‘service obsession’ which is one of the elements of the SARS Leadership Model. It is the result of several engagements which include internal and external stakeholders, audit observations and systemic issues as raised by the Office of the Tax Ombud.
For more information, visit the Service Charter webpage or click here to access the Service Charter and find out what SARS commits to, and what we expect of taxpayers.
SARS Annual Performance Plan for 2022 – 2023 published
SARS has published its Annual Performance Plan (APP) for 2022/23 that outlines its strategies and the biggest risks for revenue collection over the next few years as the organisation continues to build a smart, modern SARS with unquestionable integrity that is trusted and admired.
Click here to read the SARS Annual Performance Plan for 2022 – 2023.
Amended criteria for RCBs – registering and management of tax practitioner members
In order to fully implement chapter 18 of the Tax Administration Act (the Act) and ensure the professionalism of the tax advisory industry, SARS proposed amended criteria for the recognition of Recognised Controlling Bodies (RCBs). RCBs were consulted and agreement was reached between SARS and the RCBs on the changes below:
- An RCB may register an individual as a tax practitioner on or after 1 June 2022, if the individual:
- Meets the following requirements for minimum qualifications and experience:
- NQF level 6 and above with at least one accounting module and one tax module, plus at least one year’s tax working experience
- NQF level 5 plus at least four years’ tax working experience, or
- NQF level 4 plus ten years’ tax working experience. The tax working experience must be verifiable by the employers or clients.
- Successfully completed the SARS Readiness Programme, i.e. attended the SARS Readiness Programme and passed the assessment. The implementation date for the SARS readiness programme is 1 July 2022.
- Is tax compliant, and
- Has submitted an independently verified criminal free certificate in terms of section 240(3) of the Act to their RCB/s, e.g. a certificate issued by the SA Police Service (SAPS). Once the individual is registered as a tax practitioner, an annual confirmation is required that the criminal free status remains unchanged. Following this, a sworn affidavit indicating the tax practitioner is criminal free in terms of the above-mentioned section of the Act, must be produced and provided to RCBs once every 5 years.
- Meets the following requirements for minimum qualifications and experience:
- An RCB is required to do the following regarding its tax practitioner members registered before 1 June 2022:
- Criminal record. Tax practitioners are required to submit to their RCBs attesting to criminal free status. Thereafter, an annual confirmation is required that the criminal free status remains unchanged. Following this, a sworn affidavit indicating that the tax practitioner is criminal free in terms of the above-mentioned section of the Act, must be produced and provided to their RCB/s once every 5 years.
- Continued Professional Education (CPE)
From 1 June 2022, RCBs must:
Ensure that its tax practitioner members meet the following requirements:
- a minimum of 18 verifiable CPE hours per year, which consists of 10 tax hours, 2 ethics hours, and 6 hours relating to the service provided. Please note: the pro rata of the 18 hours per annum is applicable to newly registered tax practitioners depending on their registration date
- verify at least 20% of its members’ CPE records per year, and
- retain the records of the verified compliance status of its tax practitioner members. Tax practitioners are also required to retain their CPE records, e.g. competency certificates. The records must be retained for five years.
Please note that in the 2022 calendar year, the CPE hours will be calculated pro-rata, i.e.
- from 1 January 2022 to 31 May 2022, the pro-rata of the previous requirements for CPE hours apply, and
- from 1 June 2022 to 31 December 2022, the pro-rata of the new requirements for CPE hours apply.
- Records of dismissed members due to gross misconduct
RCBs are required to notify SARS as and when they have dismissed a member due to gross misconduct. This enables the establishment of a centralised register which will be held by SARS.
- Tax compliance of tax practitioner members
RCBs must verify the tax compliance status of tax practitioners at least once a year.
- 3. Review of RCB and tax practitioner status will be implemented from 1 July 2022.
- SARS will conduct an annual review of an RCB’s recognition status. If the RCB fails to meet the recognition criteria and take remedial action within the stipulated timeframe by SARS, such RCB may be de-recognised by the Commissioner in terms of section 240A(6) of the Act
- SARS will conduct an annual review of a tax practitioner’s status. If a tax practitioner fails to meet the registration criteria, SARS may deregister such tax practitioner
- with immediate effect if the non-compliance falls under the category of section 240(3)(a) to (c) (inclusive) of the Act, or
- after he/she failed to take remedial action within the stipulated timeframe if such non-compliance falls under the category of section section 240(3)(d) of the Act.
De-recognised RCBs and deregistered tax practitioners may request SARS to review its decision in terms of section 9 of the Act. However, the status of the RCBs and tax practitioners concerned will only be restored when SARS’ decision is reversed on completion of such review.
Removal of contradictory tax practitioner documents from the SARS website
Following discussions with RCBs, SARS has updated the criteria for recognition status. These have been communicated to RCBs via formal communication. SARS is in the process of updating the criteria document. The previous guides have been removed from the website. For any enquiries in this regard please write to write to [email protected]
SARS Readiness Programme
SARS is embarking on a new journey with registered tax practitioners and controlling bodies. As of 1 June 2022, SARS will roll-out the “SARS Readiness Programme” with the assistance of controlling bodies. The SARS Readiness Programme will inform tax practitioners of their rights and obligations. It is an education programme and will ensure that practitioners are equipped to meet the challenges facing them when representing taxpayers. The programme is a pre-requisite for any individual seeking to be registered tax practitioner from 1 July 2022.
PAYE dispute process for administrative penalties now available via eFiling
SARS is committed to modernising its service offering to taxpayers and has introduced changes to its systems and processes. From 25 April 2022, SARS no longer accepts manually filed Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) disputes and penalty remission requests. The PAYE request for remission or dispute process for administrative penalties is now available on the existing eFiling platform. Employers can now dispute late payment penalties and administrative penalties online.
Click here to access the guide.
Taxpayers are now able to view third party files submitted to SARS on their behalf
Third party data providers (banks, medical aid schemes, and insurers, etc.) submit third party data of their clients to SARS via the Connect Direct (C:D) or via the secure web: HTTP technology. To finalise their submission process, third party data providers are required to access eFiling and proceed by verifying and declaring their submitted data file. The data file submitted contains third party data of taxpayers which include amongst others medical aid certificates and employment certificates (IRP5).
To promote accuracy of the pre-populated information included within income tax returns, and to further ensure efficiency in resolving tax affairs, taxpayers are now able to view their third-party data certificates submitted by third party data providers on their behalf. This implies that taxpayers or tax representatives can request to view third-party data certificates that were received by SARS via eFiling. It should be noted that currently the 2022 certificates are not available.
Where there is a query related to the third-party data certificates viewed/downloaded, taxpayers are encouraged to visit their financial service provider (third party data providers) accordingly in resolving queries related to third-party data certificates. Where the query of the third-party data is SARS related, the taxpayer is advised to either notify SARS via eFiling, visit the SARS Branch Office, or call the SARS Contact Centre.
Click here to access the guide.
Tax Directives legislative changes implemented
Legislative changes have been made to pension preservation and provident preservation funds. In addition, a new reason has been added on the IRP3a to cater for foreign companies that are not registered for Pay As You Earn (PAYE) to make severance payments to South African tax residents who have performed work within the Republic for the said company. This information is important for fund administrators, insurers, tax practitioners, advisors and taxpayers.
Click here to access the updated guide.
How to deal with deceased estate cases
Upon death of an individual, their assets on date of death are placed in an estate. This estate is referred to as a “deceased estate.” Assets in such an estate can include immovable property (house), movable property (car, furniture, etc.), cash in the bank, as well as deemed property that may include certain life insurance policies taken out on the life of the deceased, tax exempt donations, etc.
Click here for more information
Only SARS may use its logo
No persons may use any of SARS’ logos, as the use of that logo could be interpreted by other parties as implying a special connection to SARS. Prohibited use of SARS’ logos includes, but is not limited to, the use of the SARS’ logo on business or personal correspondence, e-mail signatures, business signage and websites.
Section 30 of the South Africa Revenue Service Act, 1997 (Act No. 34 of 1997) (SARS Act) prohibits any person from claiming an association or representing a connection with SARS. A contravention of this section of the SARS Act could lead to a fine, or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or both.
SARS’ registered trademarks (“SARS”, the SARS, the SARS triangle logo, eFiling and eFiling logo, [email protected] and [email protected] logo, etc.) are also registered trademarks in the name of SARS. Consequently, any unauthorised use thereof constitutes a trademark infringement in terms of the Trademarks Act, 1993. These trademarks were registered to prevent unauthorised use thereof which would be detrimental to the national interests of South Africa. In addition, SARS is the owner of the copyright subsisting in the SARS triangle logo; thus, the logo is protected as an original artistic work in terms of the Copyright Act, 1978.
SARS has robust security systems protecting taxpayer’s information. Information held by SARS can only be accessed using proven authentication methods, such as access using unique usernames and passwords and access confirmation using one-time passwords (OTPs). Fraudsters are using a range of deceptive methods to get taxpayers to unwittingly provide them with personal information which is used to defraud the taxpayer and SARS. SARS has published an anti-fraud leaflet advising on how to protect a taxpayer’s profile.
Click here to read the SARS anti-fraud leaflet
SARS has become aware of a new eFiling new scam. Click on the link to see an example of the scam SARS eFiling notification.