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Tiers and Point Calculations

I.            Need for CPD Requirements

Up-to-date knowledge and skills are the essence of being a tax professional.  Clients and other persons engaging with tax professionals assume that tax professionals know the latest tax developments and are not merely relying on their initial learning to enter the profession.  Top quality tax professionals are engaged in an ongoing state of learning in terms of their profession.  Undertaking regular CPD ensures that the professional:

·         Maintains knowledge and skills to provide services of the highest quality;

·         Remains up-to-date in terms of tax interpretation, legislation and policy direction; and

·         Can properly advise clients of their rights and obligations in terms of the tax system.

Government recognises the importance of continuing education in terms of professional recognition.  SAIT designation as a tax professional requires continued approval from SAQA, which includes annual CPD requirements as part of any designation offered.  SARS has its own additional requirements for obtaining a SARS “practitioner number”, including annual CPD, all of which is incorporated into the SAIT CPD requirements. 

II.           Tiers of CPD

CPD comes in three tiers – the first and second tiers are structured with the third tier being unstructured.  Structured CPD is more formal, requiring evidentiary proof.  Unstructured CPD is primarily based on self-declaration.  The specifics of each tier of CPD are as follows:

Tier 1:  Output “assessment based” verifiable CPD (structured) – This form of CPD includes SAIT accredited large scale events, seminars and webinars that typically include technical questionnaires that need to be completed by the member.  This class of CPD also includes various forms of SAIT contributions (e.g. submission of tax articles and working group participation).  Tier 1 CPD is required only for a limited class of members.  For this form of CPD to apply, the member must be registered with SARS (i.e. have a “PR” number) via SAIT.

Tier 2:  Input verifiable CPD (structured):  Tier 2 CPD includes all forms of Tier 1 (i.e. output verifiable) CPD as well as other formalised tax presentations and seminars provided by third parties and SAIT face-to-face sessions that lack any technical questionnaires.  This form of CPD may include Tier 1 CPD seminars when the member attended but failed to provide the required technical questionnaire (completion of questionnaires is still required for webinars and reading materials). This form of CPD is required for Tax Practitioner Affiliates and (Practicing) Tax Professionals.

Tier 3:  Non-verifiable CPD (unstructured):  This form of CPD includes tax presentations and tax reading regardless of whether the presentations are accredited by SAIT.  No technical questionnaires need be completed for presentations or reading materials. 

Ethics:  Ethics forms a small part of most CPD requirements.  This form of CPD can be SAIT accredited or obtained from various independent sources.

Note: Members may not duplicate CPD claims (i.e. they may not simultaneously claim the same CPD for different tiers).  If a form of CPD is eligible for two or more tiers, the member chooses the allocation.

III.           Tier 1 CPD

A.           Conceptual Overview

Recognised CPD comes in different forms of learning experiences.  Most CPD comes in the form of receiving information – listening learning and written learning.  This learning can occur in a more formal setting (e.g. university learning).  In some cases, learning may also come through active involvement of providing information and support to others (e.g. SAIT contributions).

Conceptual Breakdown

Allocable activities

Listening learning

  • SAIT large scale events
  • SAIT seminars
  • SAIT webinars
  • SAIT accredited events and seminars

Written learning

  • SAIT tested Tax Talk and Tax Chronical articles
  • Tested articles of other RCBs
  • SAIT annual assessments (to be added)

SAIT Contributions

  • Presentations at SAIT events, seminars and webinars
  • Presentations at SAIT accredited events
  • Writing articles for SAIT
  • Participation in SAIT technical working groups and committees


  • Completion of university tax courses
  • Teaching of university tax courses
  • Publication of tax articles in university journals
  • Publication in widely accepted tax journals

Pro bono

  • Pro bono provision of services led by or accredited by SAIT


B.            Detailed description

1.            SAIT large scale events (LSEs), Seminars and Webinars

The basic method for obtaining CPD is through attendance and participation at SAIT events, seminars, webinars and similar presentations.  Tier 1 CPD requires active attendance as opposed to mere signature at a roster, meaning that some basic questions must often be answered in order to obtain full points.  Presenters for these SAIT events generally receive double points for their efforts given that presentation time is significantly higher than mere attendance.


CPD Hours

Attendance – Plus:

Verifiable – Presentations


4 hours

20 questions plus attendance

12 hours (1st time); 6 hours for each repeat performance thereafter


2 hours

10 questions plus attendance

6 hours (1st time); 3 hours for each repeat performance thereafter

SAIT sponsored and accredited events*

1 point for every 2 hours (but no more than 4 points per day)

Not applicable

2 hours per hour of presentation time

LSE: Tax Indaba

8 hours per day

No questions

4 hours per presentation and
2 hours per panel

LSE: Budget Breakfast

2 hours

No questions

4 hours per presentation

2 hours per panel

Transfer Pricing Summit

8 hours per day

No questions

4 hours per presentation and
2 hours per panel


*  In addition to its own events, SAIT jointly works with outside organisations to host their events and recognises events independently undertaken by widely recognised organisations with tax expertise (e.g. large accounting firms, law firms and other recognised controlling bodies).  This list can be found on the SAIT website under “Tax CPD:  Accredited Institutions” icon.  This recognition extends to events involving external attendees (not to programmes solely dedicated to in-house employees).


2.            Tested Articles and Annual Assessments

A second basic method for obtaining CPD is through active reading of talk tax articles and other tax articles.  Tier 1 CPD requires a few questions to be answered in order to verify that the required reading was performed.  Presenters for these SAIT events generally receive double points for their efforts given that presentation time is significantly higher than mere attendance.  [SAIT is also in the process of generating a staple set of annual assessments for a variety of areas.  These assessments are designed to provide members with an opportunity to demonstrate that they have independently obtained up-to-date relevant tax knowledge.]


CPD Hours

Verifiable – Questions

Verifiable – Author of article

SAIT Tested Tax Talk Articles

Note: In terms of the Tax Talk feature/cover article, all related articles will be aggregated (for a combination equaling or exceeding 2500 words).

15 minutes:
750 and 1500 words

3 questions

1 hour

30 minutes: 1501 - 1999 words

5 questions

2 hours

45 minutes: 2000 – 2499 words

7 questions

3 hours

1 hour:
2500 words

10 questions

4 hours

Tax Chronicles

2,5 hours

25 questions

Not applicable

Annual Assessments (to be added)

15 hours

75 questions

1 hour per 5 questions

*  SAIT is willing to recognise tested articles of other accredited organisations (typically other “recognised controlling bodies”).  This list can be found on the SAIT website under “Tax CPD:  Accredited Institutions” icon.


3.           SAIT Contributions (e.g. Working Groups and Board Members)

Many members actively contribute to the tax profession through their representative activities at SAIT.  Members may seek to promote tax law and interpretation via a technical working group or facilitate SARS operations via SAIT stakeholder engagement.  Other members spend significant amounts of time assisting SAIT in supporting the organisation and SAIT governance.


CPD Hours

Chair & Vice Chair: Technical working groups

8 hours for the position of Chair and 4 hours for Vice Chair (automatic)

Technical working group sessions for all members (other than Chairs and Vice-Chairs)

Time per session (1 hour increments either face-to-face or via phone); stakeholder management discretion to add for written contributions

SAIT stakeholder engagement with SARS at a national and a regional level

2 hours per session with SARS for each SAIT participant

SAIT Governance

Time per session but no more than 8 hours in total for the year

Completion of SAIT technical surveys

15 minutes per survey

SAIT pro bono

1 hour per hour of contribution but no more than 8 hours in total for the year

Other SAIT contributions

SAIT may also award further CPD points for further time actually committed for the direct benefit of SAIT activities (e.g. student conferences)


4.            Academic, government and pro bono

Some members may be working toward higher levels of tax qualification through formal education programmes or members may be teaching these programmes.  These efforts take significant amounts of time and are recognised accordingly.  Others will undertake important tax research that adds to the local tax profession.


CPD Hours

Completion of one or more university tax courses

Automatic full 30 points

Teaching of one or more university tax courses

Automatic full 30 points

Visiting classes for university tax courses

2 hours per 1 hour of teaching

Publication of a tax article in a university journal

Automatic full 30 points

Author of a tax book in Juta, LexisNexis or Siber Inc. or equivalent

Automatic full 30 points in year of publication and in year of update release

Publication of a tax article in a widely accepted tax journal
Some widely accepted tax journals: The Taxpayer, The Business and Tax Journal (Siber Inc.), Lexis Nexis journals, IBFD journals, International Tax Review

1 hour per page


IV.          Tier 2 CPD

Tier 2 CPD includes all Tier 1 CPD (if not utilised for Tier 1 purposes).  Tier 2 CPD additionally includes:

  • Related to SAIT:
    • Tier 1 SAIT seminars (and accredited seminars) attended without responding to tested questions.
  • Completely external to SAIT:
    • Attendance and presentation at tax events, seminars and webinars offered by any organisations not accredited by SAIT.
    • Attendance and presentation at events, seminars and webinars involving financial accounting, company law, and other non-tax programmes related to the member’s work in the tax field.
    • In-house (employee) tax training attendance and presentations by accredited organisations.
    • Writing (i.e. being the author) of a tax article on a firm website or the website of a recognised controlling body.
    • Submissions (outside of SAIT) to National Treasury, SARS, the Davis Tax Committee, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Tax Ombud, ATAF and the OECD relating to tax, customs and grants.
    • Pro Bono work relating to tax (outside of SAIT) but no more than 8 hours in total for the year.

V.            Tier 3 CPD

Tier 3 CPD includes all Tier 1 and Tier 2 CPD (if not utilised for Tier 1 and Tier 2 purposes).  Tier 3 CPD also includes various forms of more informal methods of learning.  These methods include self-study, mentoring and being mentored, internal training sessions, as well as working on new areas of tax law and operations.  Tier 3 CPD is based on self-declaration.

VI.          Ethics

SAIT provides a free ethics course with questions that will fully satisfy this requirement.  Ethics courses provided by other Recognised Controlling Bodies, the Law Society or the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors also qualify.  Lastly, many accounting and law firms provide internal ethics / independence courses that should satisfy the ethics requirement.

VII.         Mid-year entrants (new members)

New members typically join mid-year and therefore should not be subject to the full set of CPD requirements.  These requirements will be reduced for part-year status.  CPD requirements fall into three categories when a member is with SAIT for a full year.  A member may be required to perform 15 hours of Tier 1 or Tier 2 CPD.  A member may additionally be required to perform 10 hours of Tier 3 CPD and 5 hours of tax ethics.  These requirements are reduced as provided below for mid-year entrants.

Membership start date

Pro-rated requirements

15 Hour Tier 1/Tier 2

15 Hour Tier 3

Tax Ethics


No waiver

No waiver

No waiver


No waiver

No waiver

No waiver




No waiver




No waiver




No waiver




No waiver




No waiver






















VIII.        Relief from CPD requirements

Members may request partial or full relief from CPD requirements due to extenuating circumstances.  These extenuating circumstances may be due to a medical condition or injury or other circumstance beyond the member’s control.  Relief relating to excessive work and parental leave will only be eligible for deferral of CPD requirements.  Granting of relief is a dependent upon the discretionary approval of the SAIT education department.


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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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