Q: We have a number of individual tax clients that have been selected for an
audit for their 2014 tax submission. We have been advised by SARS that this
process can take up to 6 months to even be seen by an auditor. Is there any way
that we can speed up this process? At least contact the auditor involved and
request details that are being investigated.
A: Technically, where SARS conducts an audit they
must in terms of section 42 of the Tax Administration Act (TAA) notify the
taxpayer every 90 days of the progress of the audit. There is however no
specific mechanism to compel SARS to deal with the matter faster. The problem
arises that many of the audits done by SARS are according to them are "desks audits”
similar to inspection and verification which they are of the opinion therefore
do not fall within section 42 which they interpret as being field audits.
We are of the view that section 42 of the TAA does not
make this distinction between field and desk audits and should SARS state that
they are conducting an audit, and then the taxpayer is entitled to request the
SARS to keep them informed of the progress.
Upon failure to do so you are welcome to lodge a complaint in this
regard as the failure to notify would be an administrative matter.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this query and answer should be construed as
constituting tax advice or a tax opinion. An expert should be consulted for
advice based on the facts and circumstances of each transaction/case. Even
though great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the answer, SAIT do
not accept any responsibility for consequences of decisions taken based on this
query and answer. It remains your own responsibility to consult the relevant
primary resources when taking a decision.
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.