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Improvements to dispute resolution process

Monday, 29 May 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Gigi Nyanin
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Author: Gigi Nyanin (CDH)

On 15 May 2017, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) released a statement on its website regarding improvements that have been introduced to the current dispute resolution process. According to this statement, these improvements are being implemented by SARS as part of an ongoing commitment to deliver a better service to taxpayers.

More specifically, the statement refers to the implementation of an electronic request for reasons for an assessment as well as the introduction of:

  • a separate condonation workflow which caters for the late submission of a dispute for certain types of tax;
  • a request for suspension of payment pending the outcome of a value-added tax (VAT) dispute; and
  • an eFiling guided process

We discuss these improvements in more detail below.

Request for reasons (RFR)

Generally, once a taxpayer has been issued with an assessment, the dispute resolution process can be summarised, in simple terms, as follows:

  • to the extent that the grounds provided in the assessment do not sufficiently enable the taxpayer to understand the basis of the assessment, the taxpayer may request SARS to provide reasons for the assessment;
  • the taxpayer may object against the assessment and SARS must consider the objection and either disallow it or allow it in whole or in part;
  • if the taxpayer is dissatisfied with SARS’s decision following the objection, the taxpayer may lodge an appeal against such decision; and
  • the dispute may be resolved either through Alternative Dispute Resolution, the Tax Board or the Tax Court.

In terms of rule 6 of the rules promulgated under s103 of the Tax Administration Act, No 28 of 2011 (TAA) (Rules), a taxpayer may request SARS to provide reasons for an assessment in order to enable the taxpayer to formulate an objection. If such a RFR is submitted, a taxpayer has 30 business days within which to lodge an objection after having received SARS’s reasons, instead of the normal 30 business days after receiving the assessment.

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