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Did SARS just help itself to your money? Know your rights so you can defend yourself

by , 11 December 2014
The sad truth is SARS can just take money out of your account without asking you.

But it has very specific guidelines it has to follow when it takes this course of action.

So if SARS does take your money, you have to make sure it followed the right procedures.

But first you need to know your rights when it comes to this kind of action...

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Here are your rights when it comes to SARS taking your money

SARS can't collect a third party debt from your account unless it's asked you for your side of the story. And this is only if you're responsible for that tax. For example, you're the primary taxpayer or a company's representative taxpayer. 
If, on the other hand, it thinks you'll hide the money so you don't have to pay, it can go ahead and take the money. But to do this SARS also has to have a strong case to support its suspicions. 
If you think SARS might just take your money, ask for a suspension of payment. You have 30 days after an assessment to object to it. You should apply for suspension of payment before you lodge the objection.
But if SARS has already taken your money, you must object straight away. When you object, make sure SARS followed these two steps before taking your money.
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Do you plan on obtaining an 'innocent' tax benefit? If your main or only reason for entering into any arrangement is to receive a tax benefit, SARS will brand you guilty of avoiding tax...and guess who has to prove their innocence… YOU!

If SARS didn't follow these two steps you can take it to court to get your money back

Step 1: SARS must start with the person or company in charge of the outstanding tax. So if your company owes SARS money, it will come after you first.
It will give you a notice of tax liability due and payable. It will request payment within a specific period. You can then arrange payment options with SARS. 
SARS might let you pay off the debt over a fixed-term. 
Step 2: If SARS can't recover funds from the primary source, it will look at the representative person to see if he can pay the money. So if you're the representative taxpayer for your company, SARS will ask you for the money.
Anyone who's responsible for paying the tax on behalf of another person or company is the representative person. For example:
Financial manager/director;
Business owner; 
Tax practitioner; 
Anyone else who's been appointed to manage the company's taxes; or
Anyone else who SARS appoints to satisfy a tax debt. 
This is where SARS can go straight to your bank and ask it to deduct the tax liability. 
But if you can prove it didn't follow the right procedures you can try get your money back. 
Just remember, SARS does have the right to do this if you owe it money.
For more information about how SARS treats outstanding debt, check out the Practical Tax Loose Leaf Service

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