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Waiting period of receiving refunds from SARS

Tuesday, 20 January 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: SAIT Technical
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Author: SAIT Technical

Q: Where can I get information on the time periods that SARS is allowed to take after notification/finalization of actions? For example – I have a client that received a Completion Letter re Verification of assessment (2014 IT) on 11/11/2014 – up to date the client has not received his refund from SARS.  SARS informed us that this has a 60 working days waiting period for payment (after the completion letter).  Please let me know where we can find the waiting periods for the different processes of SARS.

A: As far as income tax is concerned, unfortunately there is no provision that compels SARS to pay a refund to a taxpayer within a specified time-frame, notwithstanding the fact that SARS has in previous years paid out refunds very quickly. The periods in which SARS previously attempted to pay the refunds were based more on their internal policy rather than law. 

Furthermore, the Tax Administration Act (TAA) does not prescribe a period in which SARS must be finished with the verification of supporting documents (or an audit). 

However, section 42(1) of the TAA states:

A SARS official involved in or responsible for an audit under this Chapter must, in the form and in the manner as may be prescribed by the Commissioner by public notice, provide the taxpayer with a report indicating the stage of completion of the audit.

Here is the very short public notice released by the Commissioner in terms of section 42(1):

SARS "time periods” 

There’s not really one place or document that contains all the waiting periods for the different SARS processes,  but the section 103 of the Tax Administration Act rules (the "ADR rules”), which deal with the entire objection and appeal process, do contain time periods SARS must stick to regarding things like providing reasons for an assessment, informing the taxpayer of the outcome of an objection/appeal, etc. So you can consult that document, as well as its SARS guide, for those details.  You can also consult the Short Guide to the Tax Administration Act for the SARS time periods of their other ‘administration’ processes.  In conclusion, you would have to check the relevant tax provision (in the applicable Act) dealing with the relevant process and look for a time period there.

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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