The best way to negotiate the dreaded tax audit process, and prevent the possible devastation of any assessment issued afterwards, is for taxpayers to know their rights.

Sars has wide, but not unshackled, powers and when it issues an assessment against a taxpayer, it is bound by the rules under the Tax Administration Act.

The process following an assessment is strictly regulated by these rules, which affords taxpayers multiple mechanisms to ensure the dispute process is conducted fairly.

However, if not heeded properly, these rules are a double-edged sword that can be a taxpayer’s downfall.

One’s acquaintance with tax law and the dispute resolution process, or lack thereof, has a direct bearing on the course of proceedings and the ultimate outcome of the tax dispute.

Ignorance of the law and the rules can result in calamity for the taxpayer, regardless of the fact that he/she had a valid claim.

Taxpayers are advised not to go down the tax dispute resolution road alone, but rather call in the help of an attorney knowledgeable on tax law and how to traverse the obstacles of tax disputes.

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