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Here are your legal obligations when it comes to a field audit

by , 17 July 2014
SARS conducts audits to check for non-compliant behaviour. It can audit your business at any time, without notice.

What you need to know is there are four types of SARS audits:

1. Desk audit;
2. Refund audit;
3. Field audit; and
4. Integrated audit.

For the purposes of this article, well focus on a field audit.

Read on to find out what it is and what your legal obligations are when it comes to a field audit so you can comply with tax law.

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What's field audit?

The Practical Tax Loose Leaf Service explains that it's an audit of your records, which is carried out at your premises. It's usually specific to a certain tax type (e.g. employees' tax).

When it comes to a field audit, SARS must issue an authorisation letter for the audit. It must also give you at least ten business days to get all relevant material ready.

The notice must:

  • State the date and time of the audit (it must be within normal working hours); and
  • Indicate the initial basis and scope of the audit.

Note: If the scope and basis of the audit or investigation isn't clear, you must write to SARS and ask for clarification. Ask if the investigation is criminal in nature and under which provisions of the Tax Admin Act you're required to allow the field audit.

Now that you know what a field audit is, let's take a look at your legal obligations

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Revealed: Your legal obligations when it comes to a field audit

If SARS conducts a field audit or criminal investigation on your premises and you're not a suspect, you have a legal duty to assist SARS.

You must provide:

  • Facilities for the audit;

  • Answer all questions relating to the audit; and

  • Submit all relevant material requested by SARS.

Now that you know a field audit is and your legal obligations, comply with tax law.


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