What is an Appeal?

If you disagree with the outcome of your objection you have the right to appeal against that decision to the tax board or tax court.

When can I lodge an appeal?

You must lodge the appeal within 30 business days after delivery of the outcome of the objection.  A senior SARS official may extend this period –

  • By 21 business days if  satisfied that reasonable grounds exist for the delay or
  • By up to 45 business days if satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist for the delay.

How do I lodge an appeal?

Tax Types: CIT, PIT, PAYE and VAT:

An automated dispute process exists on eFiling for the above tax types.  An appeal must be submitted as follows:

Only specified PIT, CIT and VAT exceptions and Trusts may submit appeals utilising the manual process described below under ‘Tax types: Other’.

For more information on the prescribed manner for submission of appeals, please consult the latest public notice at Public Notices.

When submitting the dispute via eFiling, please take note of the following:

eFiling Guided Process: The eFiling guided process ensures that the appeal is submitted according to legislative requirements thereby reduces the risk of submitting an invalid appeal.

Disputing interest and penalties:

  • The following source codes must be utilised when disputing the imposition of certain interest/penalties:
    • 9987 – Tax-free investment penalty  
    • 9990 – Underestimation of provisional tax(Par20)
    • 9991 – Non-submission of provisional tax(Par20A)
    • 9992 – Omission of Income
    • 9988 – Underpayment of Provisional Tax(89Q(2))
    • 9993  – Late or Non-submission of tax return  

Tax types: Other:

A manual process is prescribed for appeals for the specified PIT, CIT and VAT exceptions and Trusts.  The dispute form to utilise is the online Notice of Appeal (ADR2 form), which must be submitted:

The ADR2 cannot be submitted electronically via eFiling.

When submitting the appeal late:

Where the appeal is submitted after the prescribed due date, the taxpayer must provide reasons for the late submission.  The merits of the appeal will only be considered if a senior SARS official is of the view that reasonable grounds or exceptional circumstances existed for the late submission of the appeal. 

  • Where the late submission is condoned SARS will consider the grounds for the appeal and engage the taxpayer to resolve the dispute.
  • SARS will not consider the merits of the appeal where the late submission is not condoned and will inform the taxpayer of such a decision.
    • The taxpayer has the right to object against the decision not to condone the late submission of the appeal and should its ojection be disallowed, appeal against that decision.

No appeal can or will be allowed to be submitted more than 75 business days (initial 30 plus maximum extension of 45 days) after the date of the decision to disallow the objection.

Grounds for the appeal:

When completing the dispute form the taxpayer must take care in ensuring that the grounds for the appeal are detailed and include the following:

  • which of the grounds of objection taken on appeal.
  • specify the grounds of appeal i.e. why does the taxpayer not agree with the decision made by SARS.
  • submit all substantiating documents in support of the grounds of appeal.
  • specify any new ground of appeal which may not constitute a new objection, against a part or amount of the disputed assessment not previously objected to.

Alternative Dispute Resolution:

After submission of a valid appeal SARS and the taxpayer may, by mutual agreement, attempt to resolve the appeal through the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process specified in the rules. This process creates a framework within which appeals may be resolved by way of agreement or settlement. The ADR process is less formal and inexpensive than the court process and allows appeals to be resolved within a much shorter period. Furthermore, it creates a more cost-effective remedy for resolving tax appeals.

The taxpayer must indicate in the Notice of Appeal whether he/she wishes to make use of the ADR procedures. SARS must, if satisfied that the matter is appropriate for ADR, inform the taxpayer accordingly within 30 days of the date of appeal. 

If the taxpayer did not indicate a willingness for ADR procedures, but SARS is satisfied that the appeal is appropriate, then SARS must inform that taxpayer accordingly within 30 business days. The taxpayer must within 30 days of receipt of such a notice inform SARS whether or not they agree to follow the ADR process.

Should the ADR proceedings be terminated  the taxpayer must within 20 days of such termination request the clerk of the tax board or registrar of the tax court to set the matter down for formal hearing.

Tax Board:

The tax boards are established in terms of the Tax Administration Act No. 28 of 2011 (TAA) and consists of a legal practitioner as chairperson. Such legal practitioner is appointed to a panel by the Minister of Finance in consultation with the Judge-President of the relevant Provincial Division. 

The tax board is administered and convened by the clerk of the tax board. The tax clerk is a SARS official at the SARS branch office in the area responsible for the resolution of the tax appeal. 

An appeal against an assessment must in the first instance be heard by a tax board, if—

  • The tax in dispute does not exceed R1 000 000
  • A senior SARS official and the taxpayer so agree, and in making such decision the official must consider whether the grounds of the dispute or legal principles related to the appeal should rather be heard by the tax court; and
  • ADR proceedings have been terminated and the taxpayer has within 20 days requested the clerk to set the matter down before the tax board.

Tax Court:

The tax court has jurisdiction over:

  • Tax appeals lodged under section 107 of the TAA;
  • An interlocutory application related to the tax appeal;
  • An application in a procedural matter relating to a dispute under Chapter 9 of the TAA; and
  • The chairperson of the tax board prior to or during the hearing, considering the grounds of the dispute or the legal principles related to the appeal believes that the appeal should rather be heard by the tax court.

The tax court consists of:

  • A judge or an acting judge of the High Court, who is the president of the tax court and is nominated by the Judge-President in the area where the tax court is constituted;
  • An accountant selected from a panel of members appointed under section 120 of the TAA;
  • A representative of the commercial community selected from the panel of members appointed under section 120 of the TAA.

What can I expect from SARS when I appeal?

The appeal may be resolved by way of:

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR);
  • The tax board and/or
  • The tax court.

What can I expect when the appeal is finalised?

SARS endeavours to:

  • ADR:
    • Finalise the ADR proceedings  within 90 business days unless agreed otherwise.
    • Where an agreement or settlement is concluded issue an assessment to give effect to thereto within a period of 45 business days after the date of the last signing of the agreement.
  • Tax Board:
    • The chairperson to issue a decision by the tax board within 60 business days after the conclusion of the hearing
    • The clerk to deliver a copy of the decision to the parties within 10 business days of receipt of the decision
    • Issue the assessment to give effect to the decision of the tax board within 45 business days after the receipt of the decision of the tax board.

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