What’s New at SARS

Invitation to a webinar on Employer Interim Reconciliation Declarations Filing Season

17 October 2022 – SARS would like to invite you to attend a Webinar for employers, where the Employer Interim Declarations (EMP 501) Filing Season will be discussed.  As an important stakeholder, you are invited to join us at the Webinar. You may also extend this invitation to other interested parties.  For more information on the webinar click here.

The following topics will be covered:

  • Submission channels
  • General rules for import file structure
  • Validation rules updates
  • EMP501 reconciliation process

Webinar details:

Theme:  Employer Interim Reconciliation Declarations Filing Season
Date: Thursday, 20 October 2022
Time: 17:00 – 19:00
Platforms (Virtual): Zoom and YouTube

Legal Counsel – Preparation of Legislation – Draft Documents for Public Comment

14 October 2022 – Income Tax Act, 1962

Due date for comment: 13 January 2023


Legal Counsel – Secondary Legislation – Other Notices

14 October 2022 – National Legislation

  • Correction Notice 2644 in Government Gazette 47305 on 14 October 2022 – Correcting General Notice 2610 of Government Gazette 47284 on 11 October 2022 to substitute the heading to read “Publication of explanatory summary of the Tax Administration Laws Amendment Bill, 2022”

Legal Counsel – Secondary Legislation – Other Notices

14 October 2022 – National Legislation

  • General Notice 2644 in Government Gazette 47284 on 11 October 2022 – Publication of explanatory summary of the Tax Administration Laws Amendment Bill, 2021

Customs: Temporary solution for over carried cargo

14 October 2022 –  In light of the Transnet strike and the increasing movement of over carried cargo, all shipping lines and traders need to be aware of the temporary solution for over carried cargo under the provisions of Section 40(3)(a)(i)(C) to the respective Branch Office where once processed a manual release will be provided to the declarant and allow for the movement and manual processing of the Vouchers of Correction when ships over carry cargo.

See the full letter here and and see the previous letter of 20 July 2021 being referred to with the detail on the temporary solution here.

Media Release – SARS celebrates its silver jubilee

14 October 2022 – Today, SARS is hosting its 25th anniversary celebration, following its formal establishment on 1 October 1997. The auspicious event will be addressed by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

SARS was formed out of the amalgamation of the segregated revenue services of the apartheid-based Bantustans, as well as the Departments of Inland Revenue and Customs respectively. By law, SARS is an administratively autonomous organ of state within the public administration, and an institution outside the public service. The SARS Act mandates the organisation to:

  • Collect all revenue due.
  • Ensure optimal compliance with tax, Customs and excise legislation.
  • Provide a customs and excise service that will facilitate legitimate trade, as well as protect our economy and society.

SARS would also have to provide advice to the Ministers of Finance and Trade and Industry on Tax and Customs matters.

From its inception, SARS has been guided by a fundamental principle called the Higher Purpose, closely linked to its mandate. The principle simply means that SARS and all who work there collect revenue to help government build a capable state to foster sustainable economic development that improves the well-being of South Africans.

Since its inception in 1997, SARS has over the years collected circa R18 trillion, to put the SARS Higher Purpose in action. Government has been able to pay old age, foster care, disability, and various grants, as well as provide basic public goods and services.

It is through the collection of these revenues that millions of school children attend schools, hospitals function, and medication is procured. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) ensures that academically deserving matriculants from poor households manage to attend tertiary institutions.

The Covid-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on lives and livelihoods. Over R70-billion in tax relief was granted to employers and employees to prevent job losses. The monthly R350 social relief of distress grant has literally saved millions from destitution.

An amount of R1.6 trillion, collected by the end of March 2022, represents more than 9.9% compounded annual growth rate, against the amount that SARS collected in 1996/1997 – R147-billion.

The achievement of the above result is due to no small measure to the passion, commitment and focus by the SARS staff to bring to life the Higher Purpose so that we can build our nation. This also proves that SARS is a vital institution of the country’s democracy, and living testimony that a government entity can become a world-class organisation that delivers on its mandate in a seamless, efficient and effective manner.

SARS continues to transform itself from an organisation that printed millions of tax returns, of at least 12 pages, which were mailed to taxpayers. These returns, along with millions of pieces of supporting documents, were returned and stored on entire floors of many buildings across the country. Today, it is a largely paperless, data driven, and mostly digitalised and sophisticated organisation.

A ground-breaking modernisation journey saw the organisation move from these manual and paper-based processes, to being an electronic and digitised institution that uses technology to interface with taxpayers and traders, aiming to reach the state where the best service is no service.

SARS continues its aspiration to be a smart, modern institution with unquestionable integrity, trusted and admired, that delivers its service without fear, favour or prejudice.

SARS, like other state institutions, witnessed efforts to repurpose it for corrupt means by politically connected individuals. It saw a significant loss of talent, marginalisation of staff, complete collapse of governance, as well as a lack of trust by citizens. The Commission of Inquiry headed by Judge Nugent has helped SARS to arrest further deterioration.

SARS is working hard to provide clarity and certainty to taxpayers and traders to meet their legal obligations. Its strategic intent is to foster a culture of voluntary compliance that requires that taxpayers and traders to register for tax or Customs purposes, file returns truthfully and on time, and pay the tax that is payable in full by the due date. Further assistance is provided through extensive taxpayer education programmes to guide taxpayers and traders.

SARS uses data science, artificial intelligence and technology enablement to make it simple and easy for all taxpayers and traders to comply with their legal obligations.  The institution is continuing to hone its capabilities to detect and respond to instances of non-compliance. We are making it hard and costly for those taxpayers and traders who willfully and intentionally choose to remain non-compliant and engage in criminal activities. In line with world trends, SARS has access to data locally and across the world to help the organisation’s efforts to detect and act against non-compliant taxpayers and criminal syndicates to combat non-compliance.

On its 25-year journey, SARS is thankful for the generous assistance it received from the Swedish tax and customs authority, the Australian and Canadian revenue authorities, the Department for International Development, and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

Commissioner Kieswetter says: “In the next 25 years, we envisage a situation where “tax just happens”. This would imply that SARS will see an exponential increase in using structured data from third party sources domestically and internationally, as well harvesting data and insights from unstructured sources. Drawing on data science, machine learning algorithms, and artificial intelligence, it will see taxpayers be assessed in real-time.  Our Vision 2024 of a “smart modern SARS”, strives to set the foundation for the next generation of tax administration, in a world where business models become increasingly digital, value chains are virtualized, and physical presence as the primary nexus to establishing taxing rights are replaced by economic presence.”

On the occasion of the silver jubilee, it is proper to celebrate the success of this important institution that strives to better the lives of South Africans by expressing our gratitude to millions of compliant taxpayers and traders who make it possible to realise the Higher Purpose.

Happy 25th anniversary to the South African Revenue Service.


For more information, please contact [email protected]


Invitation: Celebrating 25 Years of SARS

13 October 2022 – SARS is an essential cornerstone of our democracy and a strategic national asset belonging to all South Africans. Our work is transformative and touches the lives of everyone, particularly the most vulnerable among us.

As we celebrate our silver jubilee in October 2022, we thank you for your contribution over the past 25 years. We are, because you are. Sikhona ngenxa yakho!

Please join us virtually for the SARS Silver Jubilee Celebration tomorrow.

Date: Friday, 14 October 2022

Time: 09:15

YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/Qt66JmlFJCE

Multiple Trusts registered from one Will/Testament

12 October 2022 – Due to the fact that the Master of High Court (MOHC) issues the same number for two or more Trusts formed through a single Will, SARS has introduced a workaround to ensure that these separate Trusts are uniquely identified as a taxpayer. Below is a summary of the process that SARS follows in such an instance:

For a Trust, where a duplicate (or more) Trust Registration Number from the MOHC is identified:

  • Add a suffix “A” for the duplicate MOHC Trust Registration Number, followed by an increasing numerical value starting with “01”.
    • For example – Trust number (MT14695/2017 by MOHC) allocated to different Trusts
    • Allocate the numbers as follows for entity registration purposes:
      • 1st Trust – MT146952017A01
      • 2nd Trust – MT146952017A02
  • Do no merge the two trusts for income purposes, they are two separate tax entities irrespective of the “Trustee Details”
  • Capture the Trust name as reflected on the Letter of Authority and ensure that the correct trust type is captured
  • Note: A Trust can have more than one beneficiary in a Trust. However, a Trust is a one legal entity and only one trust must be registered irrespective of the number of beneficiaries.

See our Trusts webpage here for more information.

Tax Directives

10 October 2022 – Update on the Tax Directives enhancements implemented in line with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).

SARS implemented enhancements to the Tax Directives process on 16 September 2022 by validating the name of the fund at Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) as well as the number with the FSCA database.

Where Funds and Fund Administrators experience spelling errors between information on the FSCA website that is not aligned with your FSCA registration letter, a request to correct the spelling error must be sent to the following contact person: Jodine Scholtz at [email protected] at the FSCA. Please note that this email address is only for the correction of spelling errors of names.

All other issues relating to the FSCA, must be directly addressed with the FSCA via the existing channels available to the Funds and Fund Administrators.

You are advised to continue using the name exactly as it is listed on the FSCA website until the changes on the name have been effected to avoid a rejection of the directive application.

Remember you can book a virtual appointment in any branch or region

10 October 2022 – You can select any branch/region when making a virtual booking. It doesn’t have to be within the area where you reside. If you select a branch under ‘Preferred Branch’ and the system returns a message ‘The selected Province or Branch do not have available appointment slots….‘ then please select another Province and/or Branch to view other available appointments.

Make an appointment here.

Legal Counsel – Dispute Resolution & Judgments – Supreme Court of Appeal: 2022–2020

10 October 2022 – Tax Administration Act, 2011

Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011 – application for amendment to objection against an additional assessment – no procedure in the Act for amendment of an objection – taxpayer not entitled to amendment in terms of Uniform rule 28(1), read with rule 42(1), of the tax court rules

Legal Counsel – Secondary Legislation – Rule Amendments 2022

10 October 2022 – Customs & Excise Act, 1964: The rule amendment notice R2576, as published in Government Gazette 47254 on 7 October 2022, relates to the amendment to the rules under sections 44 and 120 – Amendment to rule 00.05, insertion of rule 44.05 and substitution of forms SAD 502 and SAD 505 in the Rules to the Customs and Excise Act, 1964 (DAR240)

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