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30 Aug 2018

When SARS issued an assessment with which the taxpayer is not in agreement with, certain procedures must be followed to ensure that the assessment is correctly dealt with. We will elaborate on the different options and timeframes which a taxpayer must adhere to.

When to submit?

Once the taxpayer is satisfied that sufficient grounds exist to continue with the dispute process, then the taxpayer will proceed with the objection. It is important to object against a specific amount or item and to support the objection with valid documentation which will be uploaded to SARS with the objection notice.

How long do you have?

The objection must be delivered to SARS within 30 days of the date of the assessment (if no request for reason was requested), or 30 days after SARS issued a notice in response to the request for reasons (if a request for reason was requested).

An extension, not exceeding 21 days can be granted by SARS if reasonable grounds for the delay can be proven by the taxpayer. Where the delay in submitting the objection is for a period exceeding 51 days but prior to the expiry of 3 years, the taxpayer must prove that the delay in submission of the objection is due to exceptional circumstances.

Should the objection be regarded as invalid, a taxpayer has 20 days, from the date of delivery of the notice of invalid objection, to submit another objection.

SARS may request additional documentation within 30 days of the delivery of the objection. The taxpayer must deliver these documents within 30 days after receiving the notice from SARS. The taxpayer may request an extension upon which the period may be extended by another 20 days

How long does SARS have to respond?

SARS must decide on the objection and the basis of such decision within:

  • 60 “days” after delivery of the taxpayer’s objection; or
  • Where documents were requested in terms of rule 8, 45 “days” after delivery of the documents; or
  • expiry of the 30 days to provide such documents.

Should SARS not issue a decision within these timeframes the taxpayer can:

  • approach the tax court to compel SARS to issue a notice; or
  • a complaint can be submitted in terms of SARS’ internal dispute resolution process; or
  • the matter can be referred to the Tax Ombud if all procedures have been exhausted.

The notice containing the decision must state the basis of the decision, which includes the allowance, partial allowance, or disallowance of the objection, and the summary of the procedures to appeal in the event of a partial allowance or disallowance of the objection. SARS may extend this period by a maximum of 45 days if a Senior SARS Official is of the opinion that more time is required, whereupon a notice of extension must be sent before expiry of the 60 “days”.

“Day” means a business day as defined in section 1 of the TAA and constitutes a day other than Saturday, Sunday or public holiday and, for the purpose of complying with the periods allowed in Chapter 9 (i.e. Dispute resolution), excludes the days between 15 December of each year and 16 January the following year.

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