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New Tax Clearance Application Process

Wednesday, 03 July 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Michelle Espag
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Author: Michelle Espag (Grant Thornton)

In another of its initiatives to use technology to enhance its enforcement capabilities and to ease its own administrative burden, SARS announced that it will be rolling out a new automated system to apply for tax clearance certificates from August 2013.

Gone will be the days when taxpayers could apply for multiple copies of a tax clearance certificate that were valid for one year from the date of issue. Instead, in a bid to deal with corruption involving paper-based tax clearance certificates, SARS developed an electronic mechanism to provide real-time, up-to date and continuous tax status to taxpayers and interested third parties.

Some of the new system’s features will include:

  • A new application will have to be submitted for each tender bid.
  • The application process will be electronic and SARS will no longer accept manual applications.
  • For each application, a unique one-time access code will be generated.
  • The details of the tender third party must be included in the application. The unique code will be provided to both the taxpayer and the third party. This code will give both parties access to check on the status of the tax clearance certificate.
  • An electronic notification will apparently be sent to the taxpayer every time the unique access pin is used.

Big brother is watching

SARS will also use this system to obtain feedback on successful tender bids. This will enable SARS to match income from successful government tender bids with income declared by the taxpayer. SARS also intimated that individuals that apply for tax clearances for the purposes of foreign investment or immigration must be prepared for tax audits.

While this new process will provide administrative relief to taxpayers, it will also require ongoing tax compliance.



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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