Tips for Tax season
MKHAWANE says be honest and submit on time. “Don’t wait for the last minute. Have your documents ready – all your documentary proof. Claim only what you are expected to claim. Don’t take chances, or overestimate your expenses.”
He warns against tax practitioners who promise they’ll get you a refund before having seen your documents. “They will try to force a refund and may be coming up with ways to defraud. If SARS detects that, the taxpayer can be made to repay triple the amount they were refunded. That’s very dangerous because you can get into big trouble.”
HOW TO LODGE A COMPLAINT WITH THE OTO:
1. Phone the call centre or visit your local branch to discuss your complaint, and get a case number. Give them a “reasonable time” (typically a minimum of seven days) to attempt to resolve your complaint. 2. Submit your complaint either in writing, telephonic or via e-filing to the SARS Complaints Management Office. Call 0860 12 12 16 for details or visit www.sars.gov.za/Contact/ How-Do-I/Pages/Lodge%20a%20 complaint.aspx. If your matter still hasn’t been resolved, you can approach the OTO. 3. For an OTO complaint form, visit the Office of the Tax Ombud, or you can call them, fax or email to ask for a copy. It’s also available at taxombud.gov.za 4. Take your time to read through the form and gather all the necessary information before completing it. Document the factual situation of your complaint in chronological order. Attach all the relevant supporting documents. Ensure the form is completed in full. Write down the reference numbers from SARS or, if escalated to a SARS branch, indicate the name of the branch, date and person you dealt with. 5. All complaint forms must be signed and dated. If the form does not allow you to relate your complaint fully, use extra paper which must be attached to your complaint form. The OTO will not accept unsigned forms. If there is not enough evidence to support your complaint, the matter may be closed. However, the OTO will give you an opportunity to substantiate your complaint or provide the necessary evidence. 6. If you feel you have compelling circumstances, there’s a section where you need to explain your reasons for not following SARS’ complaints process.
THE OTO CANNOT ASSIST IN THE FOLLOWING INSTANCES:
1. Legislation or tax policy – to address these issues, send your tips to the Finance Minister ahead of his annual Budget speech or attend parliamentary hearings on draft legislation; 2. In matters before court or on appeal, these must be dealt with by the Tax Board or Tax Court, so you will be heard by an independent tribunal that is capable of making a binding decision.