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Are tax practitioners responsible for the non-submission of a return?

Wednesday, 28 January 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: SAIT Technical
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Author: SAIT Technical

Q: I have a few clients who have not forwarded their tax information for processing despite, emailing, phone, sending text messages. What is the law regarding clients that do not provide their information for processing? Are we as tax practitioners still held responsible for the outstanding returns?

A: The relationship between the taxpayer and tax practitioners as to manner of work and obligations is one of contract. The contract would therefore determine how and when documents must be sent to enable the service to be rendered. Where the taxpayer feels that the tax practitioner’s conduct has led to a breach of this obligation and for which he or she has suffered financial loss then a contractual claim or a delictual claim can be instituted.

In addition, the taxpayer can lay a complaint with the relevant professional institute where the tax practitioner is a member on the basis that the tax practitioner has breaches the relevant institute’s code of conduct.

As noted if you have complied with these requirements or any other reasonable steps, which may include notifying the taxpayer of his obligation, then the failure to submit tax returns remains the obligation of the taxpayer in terms of section 25-27 of the Tax Administration Act which sections do not transfer this obligation to the tax practitioner by mere virtue of such appointment.

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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