SARS Systemic Issues: Where to turn to?
The Office of the Tax Ombud (“OTO”) notes that a systemic issue is a matter that can be regarded as the underlying cause of a complaint that impacts or may impact many taxpayers. These issues can arise due to the manner in which SARS systems function, the manner in which SARS drafts and implements policies or procedures, or the manner in which it applies or disregards legislation.
There are currently 10 open SARS systemic issues listed on the website of the OTO:
- Delays in the payment of refunds (including the delay in lifting of stoppers and lack of timeframe for doing so – for example: not finalising a single period submission verification within 21 days).
- Non-adherence to dispute resolution time frames.
- The inability on the part of SARS to confirm that correspondence was sent to a taxpayer.
- Issues with the Tax Compliance System, for example: where taxpayers are still within time to submit a tax return, but the system reflects this as outstanding.
- Raising assessments prematurely.
- Failure to respond to a request for a “deferred payment arrangement” within the prescribed turnaround time of 21 days.
- Failure to respond to a request for a “compromise” within the prescribed turnaround time of 30 days.
- Failure to respond to a request for a Suspension of Payment within the prescribed turnaround time of 21 days.
- The delay by SARS to code a taxpayer’s profile as a deceased estate and to update the executor’s contact details.
- Repeat verification cases with the same requested supporting information.
Should a taxpayer encounter any of the above-mentioned systemic issues, the OTO may be able to assist in resolving the matter expeditiously.
Ordinarily when a taxpayer wishes to make a complaint to the OTO, it is necessary to first lodge a complaint with SARS through its Complaint Management Office. Should the complaint relate to a systemic issue, however, it is not necessary to first undergo this complaints process.
If the OTO accepts a complaint by the taxpayer, it will make a recommendation to SARS on how the matter should be resolved and will also notify the taxpayer of the status of the complaint. In our experience, the OTO deals with complaints expeditiously and effectively – particularly as relates to systemic issues.
Contact your closest PKF Office should you or your business be experiencing any of the above-mentioned SARS systemic issues in order for it to be considered whether a formal complaint to the OTO may suitably address such issue.
PKF Cape Town
The information provided herein may not be construed as legal and/or tax advice. Professional advice should be sought with reference to specific background facts before any action is taken based on the information contained herein. We hereby disclaim any responsibility should any person act upon the contents of this publication without due consultation.
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