Tax practitioners creating their own SARS appointment woes
14 October 2015
Posted by: SAIT Technical
Author: SAIT Technical
The technical team at SAIT often receives queries and complaints regarding practitioner appointments at SARS. Members complain that it can take weeks to secure an appointment or that the branch simply refuses to assist them. The issue of practitioner appointments has been a contentious and on-going one. SAIT raised this with SARS and at a recent stakeholder meeting we were provided with the following statistics. These numbers represent a month’s interaction at the Pretoria region branch offices.
ASHLEA GARDENS (Pretoria East)
86 appointments were booked with only 41 of those appointments being honoured. Of the 45 people who didn’t show up for their scheduled appointments, only 13 informed SARS that they would not make it.
Ashlea Gardens also assisted 169 walk-in practitioners who did not schedule a set time to see SARS.
The Dooringkloof branch saw 164 practitioner bookings with 44 of those appointments not honouring their timeslot. Of those 44, only 15 practitioners were courteous enough to cancel their appointment with SARS.
Dooringkloof assisted 71 walk-in practitioners.
The Pretoria North office boasted 180 appointments booked and still they had 33 “no-shows”. Only 3 people advised of their cancellation.
The CBD office sees the most walk-ins with 195 practitioners showing up during this sample period. Only 35 practitioners made the effort to book an appointment with SARS and then 16 of those did not arrive for their meeting – without a word of warning to SARS.
PAVILION – PRACTITIONER CONTACT CENTRE (Brooklyn)
During the sample month, 1378 appointments were booked at Pavilion. Of those appointments, 69 practitioners cancelled and 126 simply didn’t pitch. The agents at Pavilion also attended to 694 walk-in clients.
As you can tell by the above figures, practitioners are creating the very same problems they’re complaining about. It’s cause for concern that 236 practitioners completely abandoned their appointments without giving notice to SARS, in contrast to the 104 people who informed SARS of their cancellation. It seems that practitioners are “block booking” appointments, purely to ensure a weekly interaction with SARS, even when there are no specific matters to be discussed. This, in turn, causes problems for other practitioners trying to secure an appointment. If you are unable to honour your appointment with SARS, please inform them before the time. This will free up space for another practitioner.
Another issue which was highlighted was that of the ad hoc meetings. Practitioners are using these appointments incorrectly. Ad hoc appointments should only be used for urgent or simple queries and not for complicated interactions that require extended service. In addition to being courteous by informing SARS that you need to cancel your appointment, walk in clients can be slotted into allocated time slots, thereby minimizing the strain on the offices.
We implore our members to please have consideration for the staff at SARS, as well as for their fellow tax practitioners. Please don’t book unnecessary appointments that “clog up” the system. If you’re aware of the fact that you’re unable to attend the appointment, please make an effort to send a mail to the appointments inbox, informing SARS of the cancellation. It’s been suggested that SARS compiles a database of the offenders in order for the RCB’s to take disciplinary action. We would not like to see any of our members’ names on that list.
By being mutually respectful of others, we’ll be able to solve these appointment concerns.