As a practice, we are seeing SARS continue to aggressively follow collection steps against taxpayers with outstanding tax debt. This includes withdrawing funds from bank accounts, garnisheeing salaries and threatening personal liability of company representatives. If you are in this position, it is important to know your legal rights as a taxpayer and the steps available to you. A letter of demand is usually the first step in this process.
Should a letter of demand/third-party appointment be issued against you, it is important that you do not bury your head in the sand nor become a deer in the headlights. Being frozen with fear or indecision will not aid your cause and will only lead to SARS commencing with collection procedures in terms of the Tax Administration Act, 28 of 2011 (“TAA”), leaving a taxpayer with little to no recourse.
It is important to remember that a third-party appointment is not a SARS official collecting a debt, but rather SARS legally appointing a third-party in terms of Section 179 of the TAA, such as the taxpayer’s bank or employer, to withhold and immediately pay over to SARS all available funds as per the terms stipulated on the notice of third-party appointment. Should a third-party fail to adhere to the appointment, it may result in the third-party being held personally liable to SARS and they may also be convicted of a criminal offence.
Proactive, not reactive
It is of utmost importance for taxpayers who find themselves in the above position to immediately engage the services of an astute tax attorney, who can ensure that the legal process is properly followed, in addressing the alleged tax debt owed to SARS.
Tax Consulting SA has a team of highly qualified and astute tax attorneys who will be able to assist you in ensuring that the proper legal process is followed and engaging with SARS, giving you the best opportunity to immediately suspend any tax debt while also following the dispute/compromise process. Any personal information shared with our tax attorneys will be fully protected by legal privilege.