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News & Press: SARS operational & eFiling questions

Is SARS allowed to telephonically request for supporting documentation?

24 February 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: SAIT Technical
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Author: SAIT Technical

Q: SARS is currently just issuing a general letter to taxpayers stating that the person has been chosen for audit and will be contacted for supporting documents. Then they phone and request specific documents that must be uploaded. The taxpayer wants to see a SARS letter demanding the information.As I understand it, SARS is required to issue a letter to the client and to specify the required documents that must be submitted for audit and why. Am I correct?

A: The relevant provision dealing with this is section 46(1) of the Tax Administration Act (the TAA):

Request for relevant material.—(1)  SARS may, for the purposes of the administration of a tax Act in relation to a taxpayer, whether identified by name or otherwise objectively identifiable, require the taxpayer or another person to, within a reasonable period, submit relevant material (whether orally or in writing) that SARS requires.

This provision unfortunately shows that SARS does not necessarily have to request relevant material in writing.

We do agree with you that this creates various problems for taxpayers.

SAIT actually made a submission to National Treasury late last year addressing the problems associated with requesting relevant material telephonically.

See point number 1.4 of the document below for the submission made by SAIT.

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.


The Act requires that a minimum academic and practical requirments be set to register with a controlling body. Click here for the minimum requirements of SAIT.

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