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What can you do when SARS wants more info from you?

by , 26 May 2015
Today, let's assume SARS isn't satisfied with your letter for reviewing your Vat return and it wants more information.

Here's what you need to know and do so you handle this situation correctly

According to Section 46 of the Tax Administration Act, SARS must request what it actually wants from you

Here's what the Act says:

(1) SARS may, for the purposes of the administration of a tax Act in relation to a taxpayer whether identified by name or otherwise objectively identifiable, require the taxpayer or another person to, within a reasonable period, submit relevant material (whether orally or in writing) that SARS requires.

(2) A senior SARS official may require relevant material in terms of subsection (1) in respect of taxpayers in an objectively identifiable class of taxpayers.'

(4) A person receiving from SARS a request for relevant material under this section must submit the relevant material to SARS at the place and within the time specified in the request.

(5) If reasonable grounds for an extension are submitted by the person, SARS may extend the period within which the relevant material must be submitted.

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(6) Relevant material required by SARS under this section must be referred to in the request with reasonable specificity.' [Subsection (5) amended by section 50(b) of the Tax Administration Laws Amendment Act, 2012 (Act No. 21 of 2012)].

Now, if you look at the sub-sections of the Act above, the TAA says SARS must ask you to submit relevant, specific material. It also tells you who can ask for it and what you must do.

Let's look at what relevant material is: any significant information or document in your tax affairs that SARS will use to see if you're being compliant or not.

The Act goes on to say that SARS must reasonably specify what relevant material it wants from you. So you don't have to guess what SARS wants, it must tell you!

There's proof of this too in the case law of SARS vs. Pretoria East Motors (291/12) [2014] ZASCA 91.

The Supreme Court of Appeal found that SARS is under an obligation to clearly state what matters and which documents are in dispute, so the vendor knows what he needs to do.

You need to arm yourself with this information to use against SARS if necessary.

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