What is an objection?

If you are aggrieved by an assessment or decision issued by SARS, you have the right to object to such an assessment or decision.  You cannot object to a self-assessment (like Value-Added Tax (VAT) and Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE), where no revised assessment has been raised by SARS. In such an instance, visit Request for Corrections for guidance.

You can also object to the imposition of certain administrative non-compliance penalties or interest where your request for remission of such penalty/interest was not allowed or partially allowed.  Example:

  • Late payment penalties for VAT, PAYE, Unemployment Insurance Contributions (UIC) and Skills Development Levies (SDL);
  • Late payment penalties on provisional tax;
  • Late payment interest on provisional tax;
  • Late payment interest on VAT and PAYE (not UIF or SDL);
  • Late submission/non-submission penalties on PIT, CIT and PAYE.

You also have the right to object against the imposition of other tax related penalties.  Example:

  • Understatement penalties;
  • Tax free investment penalty;
  • Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) sectorial wage penalty;
  • ETI displacement penalty;
  • Reportable Arrangement Penalty;
  • Underestimation penalty (Par 20);
  • Non-submission of provisional taxpayer (Par20A), etc. (This was repealed on or after 1 March 2015.)

You do not have the right to object to the imposition of certain statutory interest.  Example:

  • Late payment interest on UIF and SDL;
  • Late payment interest on income tax, etc.

Where  SARS disallowed the input tax deduction due to the invoice considered to be an invalid tax invoice (based on section 16(2) read with section 20(4) of the Value-Added-Tax Act No. 89 of 1991 (VAT Act)), and the vendor subsequently obtains the valid tax invoice from the supplier, such vendor must deduct the input tax in a subsequent tax period rather than object to the additional assessment. A vendor can deduct the input tax on the valid tax invoice in the period where the valid tax invoice is obtained, provided that it is claimed within 5 years from the date on which the tax invoice should have been issued for that supply (Section 16(3) proviso (i) of the VAT Act).

When can I lodge an objection?

An objection must be submitted within 80 business days after the date of the assessment or SARS decision.   

Where the taxpayer requested reasons for the assessment, the objection must be submitted within 80 business days after:

  • The date of the notice sent by SARS that adequate reasons have been provided and that no further reasons will be provided; or
  • The date SARS provided you with the reasons/further reasons.

How do I lodge an objection?

Tax Types: CIT, PIT, PAYE, Trusts and VAT

An automated dispute process exists on eFiling for the above tax types.  To see how to object via eFiling, see the steps in the Guide to submit a dispute via eFiling. An objection must be submitted as follows:

Only specified CIT and VAT exceptions may submit objections by 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 objection is submitted according to legislative requirements thereby reduces the risk of submitting an invalid objection.  

Why should I submit my dispute via eFiling?

  • The automated dispute process has a wide range of benefits that will make managing tax affairs more efficient, and these include:
    • The ability to lodge disputes including Request for Remission (RFR), Request for Reasons (RFRE), Notice of Objection (NOO) and Notice of Appeal (NOA).
    • The ability to request suspension of payment.
    • The ability to submit reasons for late submission of the dispute.
    • All dispute correspondence can be viewed at the click of a button, additional substantiating documents can be uploaded via eFiling.
    • Taxpayers will have a consolidated view of all disputes lodged.
    • Outcome letters for RFRs and NOOs, Requests for Late Submission as well as Suspension of Payment are conveniently available.
    • The process provides the ability to dispute multiple periods on one dispute form up to a maximum of 12 periods for VAT and PAYE.

Top Tip:  Remember to make an appointment  if you need to visit a SARS Branch office.

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 taxpayer (Par20)
    • 9991 – Non-submission of provisional taxpayer(Par20A)
    • 9992 – Omission of Income
    • 9988 – Underpayment of Provisional Taxpayer(89Q(2))
    • 9993  – Late or Non-submission of tax return  

Tax types: Other: 

A manual process is prescribed for objections for specified PIT, CIT and VAT exceptions. The dispute form to utilise is the online Notice of Objection (ADR1), which can be submitted:

The ADR1 cannot be submitted electronically via eFiling.   

When submitting the objection late:  

Where the objection is submitted after the prescribed due date, the taxpayer must provide grounds (reasons) for the late submission.  The merits of the objections will only be considered if a senior SARS official is of the view that reasonable or exceptional grounds existed for the late submission of the objection.  Where reasonable grounds exist for the late submission SARS can extend the period of submission of the objection by 30 business days.  Where a senior SARS official is satisfied that exceptional circumstances exists, SARS can further extend the period of lodging a notice of objection.

  • Where the late submission is condoned, SARS will consider the grounds for the objection and inform the taxpayer of the outcome.
  • SARS will not consider the grounds for the objection where the late submission is not condoned, the grounds for the objection will not be considered and will inform the taxpayer of such decision.
    • The taxpayer has the right to object against the decision not to condone the late submission of the objection and should its objection be disallowed, appeal against that decision.

No objection can or will be allowed to be submitted more than 3 years after the date of the assessment or the SARS decision taken or if the grounds for the objection is based wholly or mainly on a change in a practice generally prevailing which applied on the date of the assessment or decision taken.  

Grounds for the objection:  

When completing the dispute form the taxpayer must take care in ensuring that the grounds for the objection is detailed and includes the following:

  • The part or specific amount of the disputed assessment.  Example: The taxpayer needs to indicate (where applicable) the source code or description of the specific item and the amount he/she wishes to dispute.
  • The part of the grounds of assessment that are disputed.  Example:  The reason as to why the assessment is considered incorrect.
  • The documents required to substantiate the grounds of objection that the taxpayer has not previously delivered to SARS for purposes of the disputed assessment.  Example:  SARS disallowed the travel expenses claimed since the travel logbook did not comply with the SARS requirements.  The objection to such disallowance needs to include a logbook that fully complies with the SARS requirements. See the Travel e-Logbook webpage. 

What can I expect from SARS when I object?

  SARS will endeavour to:

  • Notify the taxpayer if the objection is considered to be invalid and provide the ground(s) for the invalidity within 30 business days from the delivery of the invalid objection;
  • Notify the taxpayer if any additional substantiating documents are necessary to decide on the objection within 30 business days after the delivery of the objection.

What can I expect when the objection is finalised?

   SARS will endeavour to:

  • Notify the taxpayer of the outcome of the objection within 60 business days after the delivery thereof;
    • Where SARS requested supporting documents, 45 business days after:
      • The delivery of the requested documents; or
      • If the documents were not delivered, the expiry of the period within which the documents should have been delivered.
  • Notify the taxpayer if the decision on the objection will take longer than 60 business days the where a senior SARS official is of the view that more time is required as result of exceptional circumstances, such as the complexity of the matter, the principle or amount involved.  Such notification will be issued before the expiry of the 60 business days.

Where the objection is allowed (partially or in whole), SARS will issue a revised assessment (Example: ITA34, VAT217, EMP217, etc.) to reflect the outcome of the objection.  

The outcome of the objection and the notice of assessment (where applicable) will be made available on eFiling.   

 The notification of the outcome of the objection and the notice of assessment where applicable) will be made available manually via email/post if the objection was in the form of an ADR1.

Penalties for PAYE

From 25 April 2022 SARS will no longer accept manually filed PAYE disputes and penalty remission requests. The PAYE request for remission or dispute process for administrative penalties is now available on eFiling. Click here to access the guide. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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