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Here's what to do when you don't agree with an assessment from SARS

by , 23 March 2015
If you don't agree with the amount SARS has fixed on your tax assessment, use these tips to object.

Read on to find more...

Here's what you need to know about objections and lodging an objection with SARS

If you don't agree with your assessment and you don't know how SARS arrived at the amount of tax assessed, ask SARS for an explanation of how it determined and calculated your tax. This is called the 'reason for assessment', and it's an optional step in the objection process.

You can go straight to an objection, since you have this right according to the Section 104 of the Tax Administration Act of 2011, but only if you're sure SARS' assessment is wrong, and you know why it's wrong.

Just remember thatthat, if you're not 100% sure, you'll object on the wrong grounds, and SARS could disallow this completely. So it's safer to go with the first option.

Moreover, note that when you submit a 'reason for assessment' request, you must put it in writing. You must submit it to SARS within 30 working days from the date of assessment.

While there's no prescribed form for you to use, a formal letter signed by you will be enough. Based on the reasons SARS gives you, you can then decide the basis of your objection.

Here are the four reasons why you'd object to your assessment from SARS

1. SARS made a mistake on your assessment;
2. SARS overlooked the deductions you're allowed;
3. It didn't take certificates into account in your assessment; and
4. If you treat exempt income as taxable income and shouldn't have.'

How long does SARS have to respond to your reasons for assessment request?

SARS has 45 days after it receives your letter to give you adequate reasons for the assessment. It can extend this period, but must tell you why. When you request a reason for your assessment, it forces SARS to reassess why it assessed you in the first place.

Keep in mind that SARS could discover mistakes and errors in calculations etc. If it does, it will usually correct errors automatically, if the errors are on its side. When you dispute an assessment, SARS will always ask for reasons for your objection in the form of supporting documents.
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You must lodge your objection with SARS within 30 days!

You must lodge an objection against the assessment within 30 business days from the date of assessment. Or if you have asked for reasons, within 30 days of receiving reasons.

The first date on your assessment is the 'due date'. This is the date SARS will calculate interest from if you don't pay the amount you owe. The second date is the 'second date'. This is the date you should make your payment on.

The important date is the first date of assessment. Because, if you want to object, it must be within 30 days from this date. When we refer to 'days', it means working days only.

Warning: If you lodge a dispute, your obligation to pay the assessment doesn't go away. Nor does any outstanding money you owe to SARS. You must still pay what's due as per the assessment. The pay now argue later rule applies. But, as SARS systems are becoming more efficient, you should get a response to your objection within the payment period.

Make sure if you haven't heard from SARS, you make the payment regardless.

Here are the four easy steps to lodge an objection

1. Download the ADR forms from SARS at www.sars.gov.za. You'll use this form for PAYE and Vat, objections. If you want to lodge an objection for your personal or company tax assessments use the NOO form, which you can access through eFiling and submit it online;

2. Complete them, sign them, attach supporting documents and a detailed letter of what you're objecting to and why you feel the assessment was incorrect;

1. Make copies; and

4. Take it to a SARS branch and submit it (make sure you get copies stamped if you're using the ADR form to object), or simply scan and submit your documents with the N00 form via eFiling.

Keep in mind that you shouldn't post these to SARS. They might not reach SARS on time or your documents could go missing in the post.

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