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Assessments: Here's what you NEED to know about the Tax Board

by , 13 November 2013
The Tax Board is a formal tribunal, established by Section 83A of the Income Tax Act. Tax matters go to the Tax Board if the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has been unsuccessful, or if the ADR process has been bypassed altogether. Here's what you NEED to know about the Tax Board so you can protect your rights.

If you're not satisfied with an assessment issued to you by SARS, you can do one of two things:

  1. Ask SARS to provide you with written reasons for the assessment.
  2. Lodge a written objection to the assessment within 30 business days.

If SARS disallows your objection and you're still unhappy, you can then pursue the matter further by lodging an appeal within 30 business days of receiving the notice of disallowance of your objection, says the Practical Tax Loose Leaf Service.

In your letter of appeal, you must set out the grounds for your appeal.

You must also indicate whether you're willing to refer the dispute to the Alternative Dispute Resolution process (ADR) or whether you want the matter to go straight to the Tax Board or to the Tax Court for hearing income tax appeals.

If you opt for the Tax Board, here's what you need to know…

Revealed: All you need to know about the Tax Board

#1: The Tax Board consists of an advocate or attorney as Chairperson.

The Chairperson will decide your case based on the evidence before him and deals with tax appeals where the amount of tax involved is less thanR500 000.

#2: Proceedings before the Tax Board are more formal and structured than the ADR process.

These proceedings are confidential and decisions made by the Board are published only with the prior permission of the taxpayer concerned and in such a way that they don't reveal the identity of the taxpayer.

These reports can provide valuable guidance in the way that certain claims or deductions are likely to be dealt with.

#3: Tax Board decisions are binding on the parties before the Board, but if either you or SARS isn't satisfied with the decision, you may request that matter be heard de novo (anew; afresh; a second time) in the Tax Court, explains the Loose Leaf Service.

The decision of the chairperson of the Board would then at most constitute his or her opinion on the dispute.

But, if the case proceeds to the next level (the Tax Court) and the same decision is reached that as was reached by the Tax Board, the aggrieved party can apply for an order of costs.

The bottom line: The statement that SARS is a powerful government body and it's no use trying to fight it, even if you disagree with an assessment, is NOT true.

You have the right to disagree with a SARS assessment if you can justify why you feel it's wrong. And the Tax Board is just one avenue you can use to do just that.


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