SAIT CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (CPD) GUIDE
I. Need for CPD Requirements
Up-to-date knowledge and skills are the essence of being a tax professional. Customers and other persons engaging with tax professionals assume that tax professionals know the latest tax developments and are not merely relying on their initial learning to enter the profession. Top quality tax professionals are engaged in an ongoing state of learning new information about their profession. Undertaking regular CPD ensures that the professional:
Government recognises the importance of continuing education in terms of professional recognition. SAIT designation as a tax professional requires approval from SAQA, and SAQA requires annual CPD as part of any designation offered. SARS has its own additional requirements for obtaining a SARS “practitioner number”, again including annual CPD.
II. Tiers of CPD
CPD comes in three tiers – the first and second tiers of which are structured with the third tier being unstructured. Structured CPD is more formal, requiring evidentiary proof. Unstructured CPD is primarily based on self-declaration. The specifics of each tier of CPD are as follows:
Tier 1: Output “assessment based” verifiable CPD (structured) – This form of CPD includes SAIT accredited large scale events, seminars and webinars that typically includes technical questionnaires that need to be completed by the member. This class of CPD also includes various forms of SAIT contributions (e.g. submission of tax articles and working group participation). Tier 1 CPD is required only for a limited class of members. For this form of CPD to apply, the member must be registered with SARS (i.e. have a “PR” number) via SAIT.
Tier 2: Input verifiable CPD (structured): Tier 2 CPD includes all forms of Tier 1 (i.e. output verifiable) CPD as well as other formalised tax presentations and seminars provided by third parties and in-house events that lack any technical questionnaires. This form of CPD may include Tier 1 CPD large scale events or seminars when the member attended but failed to provide the required technical questionnaire (completion of questionnaires is still required for webinars and reading materials).
Tier 3: Non-verifiable CPD (unstructured): This form of CPD includes tax presentations and tax reading regardless of whether the presentations are accredited by SAIT. No technical questionnaires need be completed for presentations or reading materials.
Ethics: Verifiable CPD (structured): Ethics forms a small part of most CPD requirements. This form of CPD can be SAIT accredited or obtained from various independent sources.
Note: Members may not duplicate CPD claims (i.e. they may not simultaneously claim the same CPD for different tiers). If a form of CPD is eligible for two or more tiers, the member chooses the allocation.
III. Tier 1 CPD
A. Conceptual Overview
CPD comes in different forms in recognition of various types of learning experiences. Most CPD comes in the form of receiving information – listening learning and written learning. Learning can also occur in a more formal setting (e.g. university learning). In some cases, learning may come through active involvement of providing information and support to others (e.g. SAIT contributions).
B. Detailed description
1. SAIT large scale events (LSEs), Seminars and Webinars
The basic method for obtaining CPD is through attendance and participation at SAIT events, seminars, webinars and similar presentations. Tier 1 CPD requires active attendance as opposed to mere signature at a roster, meaning that some basic questions must often be answered in order to obtain full points. Presenters for these SAIT events generally receive double points for their efforts given that presentation time is significantly higher than mere attendance.
* In addition to its own events, SAIT jointly works with outside organisations to host their events and recognises events independently undertaken by widely recognised organisations with tax expertise (e.g. large accounting firms, law firms and other recognised controlling bodies). This list can be found on the SAIT website under “Tax CPD: Accredited Institutions” icon. This recognition extends to events involving external attendees (not to programmes solely dedicated to in-house employees).
2. Tested Articles and Annual Assessments
A second basic method for obtaining CPD is through active reading of talk tax articles and other tax articles. Tier 1 CPD requires a few questions to be answered in order to verify that the required reading was performed. Presenters for these SAIT events generally receive double points for their efforts given that presentation time is significantly higher than mere attendance. [SAIT is also in the process of generating a staple set of annual assessments for a variety of areas. These assessments are designed to provide members with an opportunity to demonstrate that they have independently obtained up-to-date relevant tax knowledge.]
* SAIT is willing to recognise tested articles of other accredited organisations (typically other “recognised controlling bodies”). This list can be found on the SAIT website under “Tax CPD: Accredited Institutions” icon.
3. SAIT Contributions (e.g. Working Groups and Board Members)
Many members actively contribute to the tax profession through their representative activities at SAIT. Members may seek to promote tax law and interpretation via a technical working group or facilitate SARS operations via SAIT stakeholder engagement. Other members spend significant amounts of time assisting SAIT in supporting the organisation and SAIT governance.
4. Academic, government and pro bono
Some members may be working toward higher levels of tax qualification through formal education programmes or members may be actually teaching at these programmes. These efforts take significant amounts of time and are recognised accordingly. Others will undertake important tax research that add to the local tax profession.
IV. Tier 2 CPD
Tier 2 CPD includes all Tier 1 CPD (not utilised for Tier 1 purposes). Tier 2 CPD additionally includes:
V. Tier 3 CPD
Tier 3 CPD includes all Tier 1 and Tier 2 CPD (not utilised for Tier 1 and Tier 2 purposes). Tier 3 CPD also includes various forms of more informal methods of learning. These methods include self-study, mentoring and being mentored, internal training sessions, as well as working on new areas of tax law and operations. Tier 3 CPD is based on self-declaration.
SAIT provides a free ethics course with questions that will fully satisfy this requirement. Ethics courses provided by other Recognised Controlling Bodies, the Law Society or the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors also qualify. Lastly, many accounting and law firms provide internal ethics / independence courses that should satisfy the ethics requirement.
VII. Mid-year entrants (new members)
New members typically join mid-year and therefore should not be subject to the full set of maintenance criteria. While the criminal ethics and tax ethics requirements will remain unchanged, CPD requirements will be reduced for part-year status.
VIII. Relief from CPD requirements
Members may request partial or full relief from CPD requirements due to extenuating circumstances. These extenuating circumstances may be due to a medical condition or injury or other circumstance beyond the member’s control. Relief relating to excessive work and parental leave may only be eligible for deferral of CPD requirements. Granting of relief is a dependent upon the discretionary approval of the education department.