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A Parting Shot: Tax Practitioners, Attorneys and Registering with SARS

Wednesday, 10 April 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Prof Daniel N Erasmus
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Source: Prof Daniel N Erasmus

As chairperson of the LSSA Tax and Exchange Control Committee, I am able to report the following submissions made by the LSSA on behalf of attorneys who practice as tax specialists, whether in their capacities as attorneys in practice, or in a consulting environment where they are not practicing as an attorney. In terms of Section 240A(1) the Commissioner must recognize as a ‘recognised controlling body’:

  • The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA);
  • The provincial law societies;
  • The General Council of the Bar, a Bar Council and a Society of Advocates; and
  • A similar statutory body.

Section 240A(2) provides that the Commissioner may recognise other bodies, subject to certain conditions.

The provincial law societies are thus recognized and do not need to apply for "accreditation”. 
Both practicing as well as non-practicing attorneys fall under the supervision of the various provincial law societies, provided they are still on the roll of attorneys.

The LSSA is in contact with SARS with regard to the interpretation of a "tax practitioner” vis-à-vis attorneys doing tax work incidental to their ordinary legal work, (e.g. conveyancing and estates) and attorneys specializing in tax work. There is a view that a definite distinction between the two categories exists.  This relates to the registration with SARS in terms of Section 240(1)(b)(ii). The LSSA is endeavouring to ensure that there are no additional obligations on attorneys in terms of this Act.

Lawyers who have not been admitted as attorneys (who are either practicing or not practicing as explained above) will not fall under the supervision of a provincial law society, and will therefore have to become a member of another recognized supervisory body to comply with the new Tax Administration Act, 2011 registration requirements. Examples of such bodies would be:

  • The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA);
  • The General Council of the Bar, a Bar Council and a Society of Advocates; and
  • A similar statutory body.

SAIT is another body that is in the process of seeking the appropriate approval from SARS.



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.

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