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If you're considering lodging an objection against your SARS assessment, here are the new rules you need to know about

by , 16 February 2017
If you're considering lodging an objection against your SARS assessment, here are the new rules you need to know aboutWhile the new objection rules generally follow the same format as the previous rules, the appeal and the alternative dispute resolution process, and the further processes to approach the tax board or tax court, the new rules do contain 1 or 2 innovative changes.

Let's look at some of these changes, and how they might affect you, if you want to object to an assessment, or decision the SARS Commissioner makes.



How the new changes affect you
 
In a welcome change, the new rules give the SARS Commissioner shorter time to respond. For example, the Commissioner now has 60 days to let you know his decision about an objection. In the old rules, he had 90.
 
He also has 30 days to tell you your objection is invalid. Under the old rules, he had 60 days. The new time periods should lead to a more speedy resolution of tax disputes.
 
In terms of the new rules, the Commissioner can now deliver notices to you by simply filing them on your eFiling profile. This means if you're using eFiling, you must monitor your eFiling profiles carefully.

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What happens to your supporting documents now?
 
In terms of the old rules, the Commissioner could ask you to deliver documents to the SARS office, so the Commissioner could deal with the objection. He can't do this anymore.
 
You must now outline which documents you're basing your objection on. In turn, the Commissioner can only ask you to deliver the documents to him to consider the objection.
 
One of the innovations of the new rules is that the Commissioner can designate an objection, or an appeal, as a test case. While the test case is adjudicated, all other similar cases are put on hold until they reach a decision on the test case.
 
If the commissioner uses you as a test case, you can oppose SARS using that decision. You can oppose SARS using your objection as a test case. So for example, there are 1000 objections all very similar. SARS takes ONE, adjudicates on it, and then applies those findings to the other 999 objections.
 
Or you can ask to participate in a test case if the test case is similar to your own objection and you believe your objection will be successful.
 
If you want to apply for an extension, for example to lodge your objection, you must apply in writing. You must do this before the prescribed period ends.

 
According to the new rules, you must set out your grounds of appeal in detail. But, you can't throw in a new objection at the appeal stage.
 
Previously, the registrar of the tax court or the tax board would set a matter down for trial. But, in terms of the new rules, you must apply for a trial date.
 
So now, you know exactly what's required if you lodge an objection according to the new rules.

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