In terms of Section 234 of the Tax Administration Act, a taxpayer may be criminally charged if the taxpayer fails or neglects to submit a return or document to SARS.
In the matter of X v the Commissioner of SARS, Case 13380,27 January 2016, in considering whether the accountant can be held responsible for the taxpayer’s non-compliance with SARS, the Court held that:
- The taxpayer cannot rely on the fact that the taxpayer was under the impression that returns have been filed;
- There is a duty on a taxpayer to ensure that the return is correct and submitted timeously to SARS; and
- The taxpayer is required to ensure that the professionals they employ are diligent and not to leave it to the tax consultants.
Thus, your non-compliance due to your tax practitioner’s conduct is not a defence when SARS comes knocking on your door.
Where you are concerned that you are non-compliant, or where your tax practitioner has neglected to attend to your best interest, it is best to commence with correcting your tax affairs as soon as possible to avoid criminal sanctions as SARS had indicated that non-compliance taxpayers will remain a high priority.
Our multidisciplinary team of tax attorneys, assisted by chartered accountants, has a proven track record of following a strict legal and compliant approach with solution-based thinking to help correct your past non-compliance and formulate a claim negligence claim against your previous tax advisor.