The South African Institute of Tax Professionals (hereafter referred to as the ‘SAIT’ or the ‘Institute’) is an Institute for persons engaged in professional tax services at various levels in the public and private sectors. We strive to afford our members a professional identity and to take such action as may be necessary to improve and sustain the status, professional image and conduct of our members.
The Institute is charged with a regulatory function of its members in terms of the provisions of the Tax Administration Act and its members also subscribe to a Code of Professional Conduct with regard to their conduct as tax professionals and/or tax practitioners. As such, the disciplinary process of the Institute is intended to regulate the conduct of members within their professional capacity as tax professionals and/or tax practitioners.
B. THE REGULATORY FUNCTION OF THE INSTITUTE:
The Institute does not act as an arbitrator of social conduct, morals and values and will in general not concern itself with the conduct of members outside of any professional engagements, except in circumstances where the conduct of the member, if left unchecked, may ultimately result in damage to the Institute’s and/or its members’ professional image and/or reputation.
The Institute exercises the function of a disciplinary body and not that of a civil court of law. Sanctions that are imposed are generally aimed at regulating the conduct of a member and, although the Institute is not prohibited from doing so, it will in general not entertain claims for damages suffered by a complainant as a result of the professional negligence of a member. The Institute will also not issue interdicts or protection orders with regard to the conduct of a member outside the scope of his professional engagements. Complainants are advised to pursue claims for damages against a member via the Magistrates Court or High Court having jurisdiction in the matter.
C. THE STRUCTURE OF THE DISCIPLINARY PROCESS:
The disciplinary process of the Institute is based on a three-tiered structure comprising of an ‘Investigation and Prosecution Committee’, a ‘Taxation Disciplinary Board’ and a ‘Taxation Disciplinary Board Appeals Tribunal’.
1. THE INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION COMMITTEE:
The Investigation and Prosecution Committee (IPC) of the Institute consists of two full time secretariat staff members plus one independent attorney who acts as the chairperson of the Committee.
The IPC determines its own process and is mandated to take note of and investigate all alleged offences, acts of misconduct and breaches by members and affiliates falling under the jurisdiction of the Institute and has the authority to gather and order the production of all relevant information, records, books, documents (regardless of its form or format) and statements under oath, as well as to conduct professional evaluations and practice visits.
The IPC is convened on a monthly or bi-monthly basis depending on case load.
2. THE TAXATION DISCIPLINARY BOARD:
The Taxation Disciplinary Board (TDB) consists of either a retired judge of the High Court or Senior Counsel or a High Court admitted attorney or advocate with at least fifteen years’ experience in practice. The TDB is presently chaired by retired Judge Piet Ebersohn of the High Court, Gauteng Division, Pretoria.
The TDB is a more formal structure for dealing with complaints referred to it by the IPC, either for hearing of oral evidence or for consideration of more serious complaints that warrant the termination of a member’s membership, together with such referrals to SARS and/or the Prosecuting Authorities as may be dictated by the facts of each individual case.
The TDB is convened as necessary and determines its own process as deemed relevant or necessary to the consideration of the matter.
The TDB is not obliged to hear oral evidence on any matter and the complainant’s (founding) affidavit, the member’s answering affidavit and the complainant’s replying affidavit, together with such additional documents as the IPC referred to the TDB will constitute the initial record in front of the TDB.
3. THE TAXATION DISCIPLINARY BOARD APPEALS TRIBUNAL:
The Taxation Disciplinary Board Appeals Tribunal (TDBAT) is convened as necessary and is mandated to act as the independent disciplinary Appeals Tribunal for members found guilty of an offence and/or misconduct by the independent Taxation Disciplinary Board.
The Taxation Disciplinary Appeals Tribunal shall consider an appeal based on the record (or the relevant parts thereof) of the proceedings of the Taxation Disciplinary Board. New evidence shall only be entertained in the discretion of the tribunal and then only in exceptional circumstances. The Tribunal may refer any matter back to the Taxation Disciplinary Board together with such instructions as it may deem fit or it may vary and/or substitute the order of the Taxation Disciplinary Board with such order as it may deem fit in the circumstances.
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