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An introduction to the SARS objection and appeal process

by , 03 September 2015
Has SARS aggrieved you with an income tax, or Vat assessment? If so, you probably already know you're entitled to note an objection against that assessment.

But did you know, the Tax Administration Act recently introduced new steps and stages, in the objection and appeal process? You're now also entitled to object to certain decisions SARS makes (Tax Administration Act, Act Number 28 of 2011).

During the next few weeks I'm going to tell you all about all the rules for objections and appeals. But today, I'm going to share my recommendations on the first stage. Read on for more...

**********Has SARS raised an assessment on your taxes?**********
Don't just sit back and let SARS have its way.
You have a lifeline.
Here are four steps you can use to lodge your objection

Before it issues  an assessment, SARS usually  audits you!
The objection and appeal process actually starts before you note an objection. In most cases, SARS will commence an audit of your affairs, before it decides to issue an assessment.
Once concluded, SARS will issue a letter of findings of the audit. And in this letter, SARS invites you to comment on its audit findings, within a certain time period.
This is a very important initial stage of the objection and appeal process. The letter of findings, gives you the opportunity to provide SARS with your side of the story. So respond to SARS and prepare your response well. Here's what you should do…

**********The dreaded 'Dear Vendor' letter means SARS WILL audit you!**********
You should've seen it by now!
It pops up automatically in your Inbox after your eFile your Vat return.
And if you ignore it, you'll be giving SARS licence to grab money out of your bank account!
Here's what you can do to avoid this…

Respond to SARS' letter of audit findings
Read SARS' letter of findings very carefully. If SARS has misunderstood the particular transaction, or isn't aware of all the relevant facts, it's vital to inform SARS accordingly.
Due to the legal importance of an assessment, you must take every opportunity to persuade SARS not to issue an assessment, where it's not necessary to do so.
The reason is that an assessment is a very important document, from which very important legal consequences flow. So in my view, you must react quickly and decisively to SARS' letter.
And there you have it! An audit is the first step before an assessment from SARS. In my next article, I'll share some practical tips on how to legally prepare and submit your valid objection.
P.S. Your objection to a SARS assessment is a legal document! Make sure it's valid. Here's how…

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