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Can SARS request supporting documents be made only telephonically or must they write a letter?

19 March 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: SAIT Technical
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Author: SAIT Technical

Q: Our client submitted his 2014 tax return and was informed telephonically by SARS that they request his logbook for prior years. Are we allowed to ask a SARS auditor to put that in writing a request for a logbook for 2012 and 2013 tax year?

For the 2012 & 2013 tax years, SARS has requested supporting documentation, which we submitted, and my client received his refund during these tax years based on the information he submitted. So surely this information should already be on their system, and the auditor can simply check there?

My thinking is that if SARS is going to do an audit of previous tax years, a letter should be drafted by the auditor (not a telephonic request) and there must be section in the Income Tax Act or TAA that we can use to advise SARS that the client has a certain amount of time (maybe 21 working days) to provide documentation they require for 2012 and 2013 tax year.

A: You are not prohibited from asking that he requests the logbook is writing; it’s the wise thing to do.

Just be aware of section 46(1) of the Tax Administration Act, which deals with SARS requests for relevant material:

"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.”

Relevant material is then defined in section 1 of the same Act as:

‘any information, document or thing that is foreseeably relevant for the administration of a tax Act as referred to in section 3’

Unfortunately the SARS auditor would not have to make his request in writing, if he doesn’t want to. But I believe if you ask nicely he may make a formal request in writing.

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.


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