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News & Press: SARS operational & eFiling questions

Getting SARS to unfreeze a bank account

Friday, 14 November 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: SAIT Technical
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Author: SAIT Technical

Q: We submitted a return for a client, who then received a refund from SARS and then 3 days later SARS froze her account. When we contacted them they said the company did not pay PAYE and they are currently auditing her and the company. What grounds do we have for SARS to unfreeze the account, because according to the tax administration act SARS must treat clients fairly? 

They are not doing this at the moment with the client. What can we do to assist the client with unfreezing the account? According to me the refund that was paid out should be reversed, because the company did not pay PAYE so the client cannot receive her refund, but tax was deducted what now?

A: To "freeze” the bank account SARS would have to get a preservation order in terms of section 163 of the Tax Administration Act.  The provisional order obtained by SARS requires confirmation by the court, whereby the taxpayer can make a case that it not be made final or have it set aside (section 163(4)).

A notice should have been sent to the taxpayer in this regard (section 165 TAA).

From a practical approach, the taxpayer would have to contact the bank and SARS Call Centre to confirm that a preservation order applies.  If the bank cannot produce the preservation order obtained by SARS they should be instructed to "unfreeze” the account or be added as party to any legal application. 

We can only think that SARS would follow this approach if the employee and company are connected persons. 

Please confirm whether a preservation order applies and whether the employee/employer are connected persons. 

The matter can be reported to the Tax Ombud, but should follow if SARS did not follow the law in freezing the account, though it is in itself probably not a practical remedy to the problem at hand.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this query and answer should be construed as constituting tax advice or a tax opinion. An expert should be consulted for advice based on the facts and circumstances of each transaction/case. Even though great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the answer, SAIT do not accept any responsibility for consequences of decisions taken based on this query and answer. It remains your own responsibility to consult the relevant primary resources when taking a decision.



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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