A positive move from SARS
From a tax practitioner perspective, this is a promising change, especially seeing as we takeover so many profiles from erstwhile advisors who have perhaps not attended to all necessary steps. Even when steps are taken, this is not reflected on eFiling, due to manual submissions of objections on email. This new rule change allows us, from the perspective of performing tax diagnostics and determining the tax compliance status of the taxpayer, to have a total view of everything submitted (whether filed manually or on eFiling) before proceeding with remedial steps.
It is of utmost importance to note that an objection can no longer be manually delivered via email where eFiling is not available. Rather, where eFiling is not available for any reason then the only alternative available to the taxpayer, is to ensure that such objection is submitted at a SARS branch in person. This clearly aligns with SARS’ objective to move to a totally electronic process.
We are aware of the fact that obtaining SARS appointments may prove challenging for some, and in our industry webinars, many attendees have noted this. Our George branch is absolutely instrumental to our practice as the SARS George office is accessible, run extremely well with a wonderful and effective staff complement.
A look to the future
SARS have clearly made technological advances in respect of eFiling, and the latest rules only serves to make it easier for taxpayers and tax practitioners alike to ensure compliance and that even manual submissions are noted and captured on eFiling. This may be interpreted as SARS keeping to their strategic objective in terms of streamlining the process and to have everything electronically captured ahead of the 2023 filing season, as well as the Commissioner staying true to his promise to make compliance easy and cheap, and non-compliance difficult and costly.
Given the new rules, it remains essential for taxpayers to be represented by astute tax attorneys when navigating the dispute resolution process with SARS. This will ensure you have an effective roadmap and strategy in place when engaging with SARS and to achieve a positive outcome.