Government Notice No 788, also issued on 1stOctober 2012, sets out the form and manner of a report to be submitted by SARS to a taxpayer on the stage of completion of an audit, in terms of section 42(1) of the TAA. It must be remembered that, in accordance with the TAA, a taxpayer is required to be advised as to the status or progress in an audit conducted on their affairs by SARS, which is an improvement in that the Act did not contain any such provision.
Under rule 2 of this public notice, a SARS official responsible for an audit instituted before but not completed by the commencement date of the TAA, or instituted on or after its commencement date, must provide the taxpayer subject to audit with a report indicating the stage of completion of the audit.
Where the audit started before the commencement date of the TAA, SARS must provide feedback within 90 days of the TAA's commencement and within 90 day intervals thereafter.
Where SARS instituted an audit on or after the TAA commencement date, the report must be submitted within 90 days of the start of the audit and within 90 day intervals thereafter, until the audit is concluded by SARS.
In terms of rule 3, SARS must advise the taxpayer as to the current scope of the audit, the stage of completion of the audit, and relevant materials still outstanding from the taxpayer.
Unfortunately, in the past, it happened too often that taxpayers were subjected to an audit and would hear nothing from SARS for a long period of time, and then, suddenly, be requested to supply information within a very short period.
The new provisions contained in the TAA should alleviate this from happening in future.
Section 240A of the Tax Administration Act, 2011 (as amended) requires that all tax practitioners register with a recognized controlling body before 1 July 2013. It is a criminal offense to not register with both a recognized controlling body and SARS.