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ENTRY CRITERIA

Membership criteria for SAIT entry depends on the level of expertise of the applicant.  SAIT entry criteria mainly focuses on academic qualifications and workplace experience.

The bulk of SAIT’s membership consists of General Tax Practitioners and Tax Technicians.  Other forms of membership include Master Tax Practitioner, Tax Advisors, Transfer Pricing Specialists and various Tax Professional designations (e.g. government, academic and non-practicing).

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General Level (GTP SA)

In order to qualify for entry at a general level, the applicant must satisfy both:  (i) an academic qualification component, and (ii) a practical workplace component. 

 

In terms of the academic component, the applicant must have successfully completed an NQF Level 7 or 8 qualification that includes tax modules/courses.  An NQF Level 7 or 8 qualification of this nature includes various forms of B Com / B Tech in Accounting, law degrees, majors or honours in taxation as well as other 3-year university or honours degrees that contain an equivalent of two-years of course work in taxation. 

 

In terms of the practical workplace component, the member must have engaged in tax work as his or her sole or main activity for 3 consecutive years out of the last 5 years.    Proof of this requirement is achieved by providing a resume of tax work experience (verified by an employer or other senior tax professional).

 

Technician Level (TT SA)

1.         Basic Entry

In order to qualify for entry at a technical level, the applicant must satisfy both:  (i) an academic qualification component (which includes an examination), and (ii) a practical workplace component.

In terms of the academic component, two conditions must be satisfied.

  • Firstly, the applicant must have successfully completed an NQF Level 5, Level 6 or higher qualification regardless of whether a tax module was included.  An NQF Level 5 or 6 qualification of this nature typically includes an occupational certificate (in South Africa or abroad) and sometimes includes an NQF 7 or higher qualification lacking any tax modules.
  • Secondly, the applicant must satisfy a Recognition of Prior Learning (“RPL”) examination on the technical level. This examination is regularly offered by SAIT. All applicants on the technical level will need to complete the RPL examination. Applicants on a NQF level 7 or higher (without tax modules) will also need to complete the RPL examination. 

In terms of the practical workplace component, the applicant must have engaged in tax work as his or her sole or main activity for 5 consecutive years out of the last 7 years.  Proof that this requirement is satisfied is achieved by providing a resume of tax work experience as well as by providing a portfolio of evidence of tax projects undertaken by the applicant in accordance with the forms provided by SAIT.  Both the resume of work tax experience and the portfolio of evidence must be verified by an employer or by another senior tax professional.

2.         NQF Level 4 Entry

Applicants with an NQF Level 4 may be eligible for tax technician status under essentially the same conditions as applicants with a higher NQF Level but for one caveat.  SARS requires members with an NQF Level 4 status to upgrade their NQF Level to a minimum of 5 within three years of membership entry or enter into a formal NQF 5 education programme that includes a tax module (including the SAIT Tax Technician Qualification programme) during the same three-year period.

Note:  Certain applicants with an NQF Level 4 may find that they can independently upgrade their NQF level to a 5 or 6 status by submitting their qualification and / or tax work experience to the ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers for which SAIT has a Memorandum of Understanding).

 

3.         SAIT Tax Technician Qualification Programme

Applicants may alternatively join the SAIT Tax Technician Occupational Qualification Programme for Tax Technician status. The programme contains both academic and workplace components.  Entry into the programme requires an NQF Level 4 as a minimum (regardless of whether a tax module was included).


At an academic level, the programme includes an RPL examination as well as a final examination.  In terms of the practical component, the programme includes monitored dedicated tax work of 3 years, which includes logbook verification.  (Note:  Applicants may not receive a SARS practitioner number until the qualification programme is successfully completed.)

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Master Level (MTP SA)

1.         Basic Entry

In order to qualify for entry at a master level, the applicant must satisfy both:  (i) an academic qualification component, and (ii) a practical workplace component. 

In terms of the academic component, the applicant must have successfully completed a National Qualification Framework (NQF) Level 9 or Level 10 qualification that include modules / courses in tax as a specialisation.  An NQF Level 9 qualification of this nature typically includes an M Com (Tax) and LLM (Tax); and an NQF Level 10 qualification is typically a PhD in tax in a University programme (within South Africa or abroad).

In terms of the practical workplace component, the applicant must have engaged in tax work as his or her sole or main activity for 5 consecutive years out of the last 7 years, and the applicant must also be currently working in tax. Proof of this requirement is achieved by providing a resume of tax work experience (verified by an employer or other senior tax professional).

2.          Alternative “discretionary” entry options

Applicants lacking an NQF Level 9 qualification can still obtain a “Master Level” designation pursuant to a discretionary waiver approved by the SAIT education committee.  Applicants seeking this waiver can do so by proving the following:

  • Senior Tax Position:  The applicant must be a (non-equity or equity) partner or director of a law firm, accounting firm or advisory boutique with three or more full-time partners/directors.  If the applicant works as an in-house employee of anon-advisory company, the applicant must be the managing tax director of either a listed company or an unlisted company with at least three support staff that are solely or mainly dedicated to tax work.
  • Seasoned:  The applicant must possess at least 10 years of experience as a general tax practitioner that is solely or mainly dedicated to tax work immediately prior to the application.

Lastly, the applicant must provide evidence of advanced taxation law competence as approved by SAIT.  The applicant’s NQF level will be relevant to this determination (i.e. NQF levels 7 or 8 will be given priority) and the competence level must be demonstrated in work that would typically require an NQF level education of 9 or 10. 

Tax Advisor Level (TA SA)

This form of membership requires the applicant to pass the requirements of the Occupational Certificate Tax Professional Qualification (NQF8); SAQA Reg. No. 93624.  This qualification entails an entry and exit exam demonstrating academic knowledge, practical knowledge and training of tax work trainee who has the skills to readily enter a Masters Tax programme.  This qualification also entails an apprentice work experience of 2-to-3 years that includes regular oversight of experienced tax professionals.

Transfer Pricing Specialists

This form of membership is entirely new for SAIT.  This group is dedicated almost exclusively to Transfer Pricing.  Most of this group consists of trainees who satisfy the academic and work requirements of either the Transfer Pricing Compliance or Advisory qualifications.  In order for any of these members to obtain a SARS “PR” number, the member must have engaged in tax work as his or her sole or main activity for 3 consecutive years out of the last 5 years.

Seasoned transfer pricing experts can also join this class of membership via approval of the SAIT education committee.  Approval requires extensive experience dedicated to transfer pricing at a high level of competence.

 

WHY REGISTER WITH SAIT?

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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