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Don't let SARS bully you when it comes to audits! Know your rights

by , 24 July 2014
The Tax Administration Act (TAA) gives SARS a lot a powers when it comes to audits.

SARS can, for example, ask you to submit relevant material (whether verbally or in writing) that it requires within a reasonable period of time.

The good thing about this Act is it also protects your rights as a taxpayer.

Read on to find out what your rights are when it comes to audits so you can ensure SARS doesn't bully you.

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Here are your rights when it comes to SARS audits

#1: If SARS wants to audit your business, it must give you reasonable notice in writing. So make sure you get this notice.

The notice must indicate when the audit will take place and what type of audit it'll conduct.

Normally, it'll also give you an extensive list of the documents that you must put together for the auditors, as well as how far back the auditor will go in your records (usually between three and five years, ending with the most recent tax year assessed).

#2: When you receive notice of the audit, send SARS a letter asking for copies of the identification cards of the auditor and the team leader or line manager, says the Practical Tax Loose Leaf Service.

#3: Once you have the copies of the cards, send SARS another letter including:

  • Under what Act and what provisions you must provide the information requested;
  • What the purpose of the audit is;
  • Your request for a copy of the risk analysis report; and
  • Your request for a copy of the audit file.

Now that you know your rights when it comes to SARS audits, always remember this…

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SARS isn't above the law when it comes to audits

It's true.

All activities and decisions that SARS takes must be constitutional, even when they conduct an audit.

If they aren't, you have the right to challenge the action or decision.

You can apply to the Constitutional Court to have the conduct or decision taken by SARS set aside if it's inconsistent with the Constitution (Section 172 of the Constitution).

The bottom line is: SARS must be transparent and provide you with timely, accessible and accurate information. So make sure you enforce your audit rights so SARS doesn't bully you.

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