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Minutes: SARS Stakeholders Meeting Western Cape 4 September 2013

Thursday, 26 September 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: SAIT Technical
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Author: SAIT Technical

1.       Opening, welcoming and introduction 

Done by Willie Viljoen and Annette van Rooyen

2.       Approval of previous meeting minutes

Practitioners have an issue with going to a SARS office with a specific document obtained on the SARS website, only finding when they get to the SARS office that the document is not valid anymore. Practitioners feel that their time is being wasted and would like SARS to send out "notices” via email to practitioners of any changes to any documents on the website.

SARS will discuss it at the national meeting.

Correction to previous minutes:

PCC mailbox should only be used for queries concerning service (request for service) and you will receive a case number. It is not intended for advice or general issues.

The minutes were adopted by all stakeholders present.

3.       Specific items raised by practitioners

Timeout period of efiling – 5 mins (used to be 20 minutes)

SARS response:

It is a decision taken by SARS technical. When you have a login issue immediately when you log in, the problem is the browser. Mozilla Firefox and Explorer is preferred, users of Google chrome are experiencing a lot of problems. SARS indicated that the reason for the timeout period being decreased is security risk. 

The frustration that practitioners have is that the system kicks you out after 5 minutes while you are working on it. It is accepted that the system kicks you out if there is no activity, but not while you are working on it. 

SARS has responded by saying that the issue has been escalated to a national level and they will consider a compromise of 10 or 15 minutes. 

Clarification of bank details:

Issue is when the bank details have not changed but the last 3 digits of the ID has, then the bank has to be verified.

SARS response

SARS’s 3rd party verification with banks have become more complex. SARS’s advice will be that as you deal with your client and you pick up that there is a problem with your client’s ID number then you can represent your client and make the change. But if you wait for the automated bank verification to pick it up it is too late.

SARS appointments

There has been a significant improvement in the turnaround time to set up an appointment at Cape Town Branch office. However, the decision making is erratic, in that in one instance an appointment was made for 2 days hence, and in another instance immediately afterwards, the appointment was made for 5 weeks hence. After sending through the complaint the matter was addressed immediately with an appointment set for the next day. 

SARS response:

We are usually booked for 1 month in advance. If it is a VAT appointment the turnaround time is usually 48 hours. The reason the practitioner maybe got an appointment so quickly was because of a cancellation. We can’t attend to all the tax practitioners in the Western Cape. That is also why we have requested tax practitioners to go to the Cape Town office or an office which is closest to their business. SARS wants to create a dedicated SARS practitioners office in the greater Cape Town area, but SARS does not have the funds currently to do that. 

Request for tenders has been published in the newspaper for a new Mitchells Plain office. 

SARS requests that practitioners have to start using the electronic mediums more and a lot of times meetings scheduled by practitioners have been scheduled for acknowledgements. There must be a lot of miss-trust in the other channels. SARS will also be a lot more efficient if these resources be used for real problems that practitioners must go into a SARS office for. Practitioners are also encouraged to apply for a TCC online rather than manually. The real time TCC system is in the process and will definitely relieve the appointment system of clogging.

Why is SARS servicing Tax Practitioners when not registered according to TAA?

SARS is still in transition phase and compromising, but it will not last and people not registered will sooner than later not be serviced by SARS anymore. There is a verification process with the professional bodies which is also taking a long time. Exams have to be written and experience referenced. Practitioners should verify their details, if not SARS will not assist them. 

How will a practitioner know if he verified his details correctly?

SARS responds that immediately after you verified your details you would have got a pop up notification on the screen which showed that your details have been verified and with which controlling body you are registered.

SARS Call Centre

The call centre appears to be inflexible at times when the operator refuses to divulge routine information. This is especially the case where an address has been changed yet the system has not updated.

There is an instance where a taxpayer requested a Tax Clearance for Emigration purposes and all the necessary documentation was handed in at SARS and an acknowledgement was received. When a follow up is made with Call Centre as to the Status of the Tax Clearance, the operator as well as a supervisor refuse to provide any information as the address on the SARS system does not match with the information that the practitioner has, even though this update has been given to SARS with the application.

The Call Centre states that the Practitioner must call in at a local SARS office. This appears to be a very labour intensive and unproductive process.

SARS response:

SARS acknowledges that there was a delay in the uploading of information. SARS will investigate why the info was not uploaded immediately. SARS requested the specific case number and details.

Submission of returns

Cannot submit a return if the physical/postal addresses are the same for the taxpayer and the tax practitioner (in case of family members & expats

SARS response:

It has been escalated but a response has not yet been received. Once a response is received we will let practitioners know.

Communication with tax practitioners and clients 

Inconsistency of communication with TP and clients – sometimes by email, other times by mail and then by email – receive a variety of communications for same kind of queries – can we standardize communication. 

SARS response: SARS will try to rectify and standardize. 

Notice of Appeal declared invalid

Inconsistent application  of objections  and notice of appeal (14/6)

a.       03/07 received a notification of invalid Objection  - appeal then submitted against this objection
b.      9/07 received a notification of invalid appeal  because there was not an underlying objection  - Now what?
c.       Now the TAA time has passed and SARS not willing to relook at the case.

SARS response:

When a NOO is invalid this means another NOO should be done. The system will see the NOO as never submitted.When the NOO is partially allowed or disallowed this means you can take the next step which is  to submit a NOA.If you have followed the channels above and the system still don’t allow them to do a NOO or NOA, they should write a letter to legal to object manuallyTax practitioner must remember that we do not follow the NOO process for all cases. For instance to rectify medical expenses a request for correction (RFC) can be used instead of a NOO.When an audit was done and the  expenses was disallowed, then the  NOO process can be followed. 

Willie thanked everyone who attended the meeting and concluded the meeting. 



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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