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The Days of Printed TCCs are Numbered

Wednesday, 24 August 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Leigh Schaller
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Author: Leigh Schaller (Assistant Editor)

Since the latter part of April this year, SARS has made it possible to obtain TCCs online, with the ultimate goal of doing away with printed TCCs. Despite some uncertainty, the system has largely been welcomed.

How it works

The enhanced tax compliance system aims to make it easier for taxpayers to obtain a tax clearance certificate (TCC) electronically from any place that has an internet connection.

Taxpayers now have a new feature added to their eFilling profiles labelled "My Compliance Profile” (MCP) which can be accessed at any stage once they have gone through a once off process. 

The MCP is colour coded. If a taxpayer is compliant the bar will appear green, and when SARS believes that the taxpayer is not tax compliant, it will be red. 

The MCP also includes a "challenge compliance” option. This allows taxpayers, who disagree with the non-compliance status, to object to it and to provide a written motivation as to why they disagree. 

An important feature of the MCP is that taxpayers can request a unique pin to be SMSed, which they can then give to third parties who want to check their compliance status. When third parties enter this pin in on their eFilling platform, they will be able to view if the taxpayer is indeed compliant.

The MCP system allows taxpayers to print their TCC by clicking on the "print TCC” option, provided that they are indeed tax compliant. Instead of having to go to a SARS office to request a TCC, taxpayers can either make use of the pin system to provide a third party with access to their compliance status, or alternatively taxpayers can print their TCC from anywhere. 

A SARS official said in an interview with TaxTalk that the aim of the new system is to ensure that tax compliance was made easier for the taxpayer.

SARS also stated that this is the beginning of the end for printed TCCs. "The intention is to completely phase out the issuing of a printed TCC, whether it be in the branch or online. You willonly utilise the new electronic TCCsand pin mechanism, to share your tax compliance status with a third party.”

The response thus far 

SAIT members seems to be generally positive about the new system. 

"It works quickly and it works well. I am happy that it saves a trip to SARS,” says Ben Vermeulen from Vermeulen and Coetzee Accountants in Bloemfontein. He notes though that he is not sure that everyone will be willing to accept the non-printed version (PIN system) version of the TCC. 

Cherie Carstens, team leader of SAIT’s Tax Technical department, says they have not received a lot of queries regarding TCCs The ones they did receive related to the activation of the service on eFiling and allocation of correct User Rights.

"Everything that has been asked can be easily located in the eFiling guide provided by SARS on their website,” says Carstens. 

The new TCC process once again emphasises the importance of making use of the SARS guides.  Initially there was confusion as to how the process will work (e.g. how do I view somebody else’s pin without logging into his eFiling profile) but since the roll-out on 18 April, understanding of the system has improved greatly. 

"My advice to people is not to be afraid to click and experiment on eFiling.  Apart from clicking ‘Submit’ on a tax return, there are very few things that cannot be fixed,” says Carstens. 

Although there may be an initial learning curve, the new system will eventually save practitioners and small business owners time and money. 

This article first appeared on the July/August 2016 edition on Tax Talk.



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