01 July 2010
Posted by: Author: Beric Croome and Lynette Olivier
Not many people feel neutral about tax. The collection of tax is often described as a contest between the revenue authority which aims to collect the maximum amount of tax and the taxpayer and his or her adviser whose intention it is to pay the minimum possible amount of tax. Although the rules for this game are often stacked in favour of the South African Revenue Service (SARS), SARS still has to play by the rules. In this book, the rules and the remedies, if the rules are not adhered to, are clearly spelt out. Although the rules of tax administration are often complicated, confusing and arbitrary, the authors, with years of practical experience in private practice, academia and at SARS, explain in a practical manner, the scope of and application of these rules.
Several of the topics discussed in the book have been dealt with by other authors. However, the advantage of this publication is that these topics are dealt with in a single book within the context of tax administration and strikes a good balance between the academic implications and the practical application faced by, inter alia, tax practitioners and SARS officials.
The text comprises fourteen chapters and twelve annexures comprising various materials including the wording of relevant statutes, regulations and forms to be used by taxpayers when seeking information from SARS.
The first chapter deals with the powers of administration conferred on SARS and the confidentiality of information supplied by taxpayers to SARS. The second chapter examines the powers of SARS in light of the taxpayer’s right to just administrative action contained in section 33 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996 (the Constitution). The third and fourth chapters deal with the requirements to register and submit tax returns to SARS, the issuing of assessments to taxpayers by SARS and the rules relating thereto.Chapters 5and 6 consider, respectively, the powers of SARS to call for information from taxpayers and the right of taxpayers to call for information from SARS under section 14 of the Constitution.
Chapter 7 analyses SARS’ power to levy additional tax.The chapter also deals with the interaction of additional tax with criminal sanctions where taxpayers violate the provisions of the Income tax Act, 58 of 1962, as amended (the Act).Chapter 8 comments on the administrative penalties which SARS can impose on taxpayers as well the criminal penalties that taxpayers face for violating the provisions of the Act.
The next chapter comments on the rules governing refunds due to taxpayers and chapter 10 considers the rules relating to interest payable by taxpayers to SARS and vice versa. Chapter 11 systematically analyses the powers SARS has to collect tax debts from taxpayers. It also sets out the circumstances taxpayers may rely on to postpone the payment of tax which is subject to an objection or an appeal. The next chapter reviews the procedures taxpayers need to follow where they wish to challenge an assessment issued by SARS. Furthermore, the chapter deals with the settlement of tax disputes under the provisions of sections 88A-88H of the Act.
The second last chapter reviews the process whereby taxpayers may apply for an advance tax ruling from SARS and the cost of doing so. The final chapter reviews the remedies which taxpayers have in their dealings with SARS and considers the different cost orders taxpayers may seek when litigating against SARS. The chapter also deals with the right of taxpayers to seek assistance from the SARS’ service monitoring office or the office of the public protector to resolve their tax problems or to seek relief where SARS has abused its powers.
The book comprehensively analyses the rules taxpayers face when dealing with SARS including the registration for tax purposes, submission of tax returns, receiving an assessment, dealing with SARS audits and how to challenge an assessment issued by SARS.
Source: By Beric Croome and Lynette Olivier (TaxTALK)