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If SARS doesn't obey the law, follow this process to defend your rights

by , 23 December 2014
SARS is an extremely powerful organisation. It needs that power to make sure everyone follows the rules when it comes to tax. After all, no one would willingly hand over their money if they had the chose.

But this power doesn't mean SARS is above the law. The various tax acts do put limitations in place to protect you as a taxpayer.

But, unfortunately SARS doesn't always obey the law. That's when you have to take action to protect your rights.

If this happens to you, follow this process...

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If you need to protect your rights as a taxpayer, follow this process

First, object to SARS' assessment. This means SARS has to go back and reassess your taxes to see if it made a mistake. 
If SARS still comes back with a wrong assessment or rejects your objection, lodge an appeal. 
If the appeal process doesn't help you, you can take the matter to the Tax Court. Here you can enforce your first line of defence: The constitution. If you know SARS violated your rights under the constitution and you can prove it in court, you should be able to win your case. 
If you still don't succeed in making SARS follow the law, you can turn to the Service Monitoring Office (SSMO). The SSMO will help you if you weren't able to resolve matters through the other channels. 
But there's a three-step procedure that you follow or else the SSMO will merely refer you back to the SARS branch office. Here's what you must do:
1. Raise the issue in writing, by phone or fax with the branch office;
2. If no one responds, phone your local Call Centre to assist. The agent will register your complaint and give you a service request number. The agent will escalated your complaint to a consultant/manager to assist you; then
3. If you haven't achieved a satisfactory response within a reasonable time, you can ask the SSMO to look into the issue.
Finally, check out the Client Charter published by SARS. It sets out your rights, the levels of service you can expect from SARS and procedures you must follow if it infringes on your rights.
Following this process will help you enforce your rights and stop SARS taking advantage of you. 
Find out more about how to protect your rights as a taxpayer by checking out the Practical Tax Loose Leaf Service

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