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Use these five steps to ensure SARS doesn't infringe on your rights when searching your company

by , 16 April 2013
In terms of the Tax Admin Act, SARS has the power to enter your premises, unannounced, to conduct a search of your premises. This means it can seize any relevant documentation under a search and seizure warrant issued by a judge or magistrate. But, you have rights too. Read on to find out what they are and what you can do to protect them if SARS searches your company.

Although SARS has wide ranging powers when it comes to search and seizures, this doesn't mean you don't have rights.

In fact, there are steps you can take to ensure you have control over the situation when SARS arrives to conduct a search and seizure.

Take these five steps if you're being searched by SARS

When SARS officials arrive at your premises do the following:

Step 1: Inspect the search and seizure warrant. Ensure the following is included on the warrant:

  • The alleged reason for the warrant;
  • The details of the premises to be searched; and
  • The fact that the material to support the above will be found on these premises.

Step 2: Check the SARS officials ID cards. These ID cards are a requirement of the Tax Admin Act. If you have any doubt if they're truly SARS officials, phone SARS on 0800 00 7277 or 012 422 7435.

Step 3: Call for legal assistance immediately. 'You can't refuse or obstruct SARS officials, but you may seek legal assistance under Section 61 of the Tax Admin Act,' advises the Practical Tax Loose Leaf Service.

Step 4: Make a list of all documents SARS takes.

Step 5: If you're running your business from home make sure the SARS official only searches the part of your property that's used for business purposes. He can only enter the rest of your property if you give him written consent allowing him to search the rest of your house.

Following these five steps will ensure SARS doesn't infringe on your when searching your company.

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