Into is­sues af­fect­ing tax­pay­ers

CityPress - - Business -

Com­plaints need to re­late to ser­vice, pro­ce­dural and ad­min­is­tra­tion is­sues that have al­ready been raised with Sars, but where there has been no feed­back or res­o­lu­tion.

Tele­phone num­bers:

080 066 2837 or 012 431 9105/6

FAX NUM­BER:

012 452 5013

Email:

of­fice@tax­om­bud.gov.za

POSTAL AD­DRESS:

PO Box 12314 Hatfield 0028

WEB­SITE:

tax­om­bud.gov.za ac­count­ing for hun­dreds of mil­lions of rands or even more,” said Mkhawane, who ex­plained that due to fraud­u­lent be­hav­iour, Sars had im­ple­mented a sys­tem of ver­i­fi­ca­tion of bank­ing de­tails to process re­funds.

How­ever, even if the tax­payer phys­i­cally goes to a Sars of­fice to com­ply, their re­funds are still not paid timeously in some in­stances.

Fur­ther amend­ments to the act have strength­ened the in­de­pen­dence of the tax om­bud from Sars. Mkhawane said this was a step in the right di­rec­tion to en­sure that the om­bud could ful­fil his man­date with­out a per­cep­tion that the of­fice is an ex­ten­sion of Sars.

The tax om­bud can now em­ploy his own staff di­rectly with­out con­sul­ta­tion with the com­mis­sioner of Sars, and all fund­ing for the of­fice will now be al­lo­cated by the fi­nance min­is­ter rather than Sars.

Sars is also now re­quired to in­form the tax om­bud within 30 days as to why it is not im­ple­ment­ing its rec­om­men­da­tions. This means that Sars can­not ig­nore the om­bud’s rec­om­men­da­tions – as it could in the past.

Ac­cord­ing to the tax om­bud’s most re­cent an­nual re­port, over the April 2014 to March 2016 fi­nan­cial years, a to­tal of 460 com­plaints had not been re­solved by Sars, of which 86% were al­ready out­side the turn­around time.

Mkhawane said that, with the amend­ments to the act, if Sars had not re­sponded to the rec­om­men­da­tion and did not ac­cept the rec­om­men­da­tion, it would not be com­ply­ing with the act.

Although these amend­ments are a step in the right di­rec­tion, the tax om­bud would like to see fur­ther au­ton­omy and in­de­pen­dence that would be cre­ated by a Tax Om­bud Act, which would be in line with the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Act. This would give the of­fice full le­gal sta­tus, in­clud­ing the abil­ity to take le­gal ac­tion.

Keith En­gel, head of the SA In­sti­tute of Tax Pro­fes­sion­als, said the is­sue of VAT re­funds was par­tic­u­larly challenging for small busi­nesses, which “find that their re­funds are sub­ject to heavy and some­times never-end­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion re­quests”.

“In­ter­est on re­funds is payable, but Sars of­ten only pro­vides in­ter­est upon the tax­payer’s re­quest,” said En­gel, who added that busi­nesses with small profit mar­gins were par­tic­u­larly af­fected.

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