Single registration: You and your Tax Practitioner
29 May 2014
Posted by: Author: Emmerentia Fischer
Fischer (SAIT Tax Executive Suite)
Cyber-crime is a reality that no longer can be ignored. In order to address this, SARS is in the
process of implementing certain requirements and conditions to pin-point
responsibility and accountability for submission of tax returns etc. The regulation of tax practitioners was the
first step in the process and the second step is the single registration
process that went live on 12 May 2014. It is the latter that has caused the current
problems experienced by tax practitioners whilst trying to assist their clients
with their tax affairs.
SAIT had an urgent meeting with SARS on 16 May 2014 to discuss
the inability of tax practitioners to perform certain functions on efiling and
to receive services at the SARS branch/call centre level on behalf of their
clients. The reasoning behind the
changes were explained by SARS in this meeting and SAIT acknowledges the
importance and need for the changes and supports their initiatives, however, it
is the implementation thereof that has raised the concerns.
SARS services restored
Tax practitioners should be able to continue with business as
usual, except for the online registrations for new entities and the ability to
change/amend the permanent information of a client. Further clarity will
be provided in the near future with regard to updating the public officer
(registered representative) information on e-filing, as well as the setup
requirements of the tax practitioner’s e-filing profile.
Please note that the tax practitioner is able to register a new
taxpayer at a SARS branch. This includes
new VAT registrations.
The taxpayers must also realise the importance of the power of
attorney documentation required by their tax practitioner. Without proper authorisation from you your
tax practitioner will not be able to obtain any service at SARS, especially at
The pin-pointing of accountability for tax matters was brought
under the spotlight. SARS envisaged that
the chain of trust from the board of directors to the public officer to the tax
practitioner will need to be formally documented by all parties. This accountability and chain of trust will
be strictly enforced by SARS. Taxpayers
will not be able to hide behind their tax practitioner anymore, but will have
to acknowledge the fact that they are ultimate responsible for their own tax
affairs. The tax practitioner will be
able to assist the taxpayer in managing their tax affairs.
The pin-pointing of accountability links directly to the request
from SARS that public officers will need to visit their nearest SARS branch
with the necessary supporting documents to capture the representative details
on SARS system. SARS wants each and
every registered representative to be validated at a SARS branch to ensure the
identification of the person accountable for the tax affairs of an entity.
SARS indicated in a media release that all registered entities will
be linked with their "registered representative” on SARS system. Please keep in mind that the tax practitioner
is NOT necessarily the registered representative of a company.
A registered representative is a natural person that is
appointed with full rights to act on behalf of another legal entity as it
relates to all dealings or interaction with that legal entity. The following capacities are regarded as
authorised representatives: Public
Officer, Main Partner, Main Trustee, Treasurer or Administrators.
The registered representative e.g. the Public Officer will have
to go into SARS branch to be validated as the public officer and then linked to
the entity that they represent. Only
then will the registered representative be able to grant access to the tax
practitioner to gain access to their tax profile on e-filing.
It is still unclear exactly what this process will entail and
how it will be implemented. SARS did
however indicate that this validation and linkage will be done in phases. The how and what is still unclear as SARS
acknowledged the fact that it is impractical to expect from each registered
representative to validate their identity in person.
Single registration and all that it entails surprised all of
us. The most important thing in this
whole process is for SARS to be able to upload the tax practitioner details
onto their database. This is the first
step of many in clearing the confusion regarding Single Registration. A lot is still unclear.
All of us are waiting patiently for SARS to indicate what the
next step entails.