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Don't let SARS spin talk your Vat refund away

by , 19 January 2013
SARS told us that Vat refund fraud poses a serious risk to the Government (obviously) and so, over the past year SARS' focus on Vat refunds has uncovered a number of refund scams. Illegitimate refund claims are very difficult to prove and almost impossible to recover if paid out.

At the end of May 2011, SARS introduced new sophisticated enhancements to their systems in order to modernise things a bit.  One of the new changes to their system is a 'risk engine' and provides an additional verification process to try to prevent illegitimate  Vat refunds and to test the efficacy of the old process.

SARS claims that it was forced to put this in place because of an increase in Vat refund claims during the prior financial year. Also, SARS says that a recent survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found strong evidence that tax fraud increases during times of economic downturn when company profits and cash flows are under pressure. (So, are they saying that if you're struggling, you'll take what you shouldn't?)

SARS claims that the improvements to the Vat system which includes

  • a new VAT201 form;
  • an automated risk assessment tool; and
  • a case management system to track the progress of VAT assessments, audits and refund payments,

are already significantly increasing the speed and accuracy with which SARS is able to release legitimate Vat refunds while simultaneously identifying highly risky or suspicious refunds for further review and investigation.

But, in practice, has it really speeded things up?  Many, many vendors say they receive a letter from SARS after submitting their refund Vat return, asking for documents which they then submit seven months down the line and after submitting documents more than once, vendors still don't have their Vat refund

Neither have they heard a word from SARS!  

SARS has 21 days to pay you your refund

Remember, SARS has to pay you your Vat refund in 21 business days.  So after you have e-filed your return, count the days yourself! 
Remember, that SARS has to do their queries within those 21 business days.  And, if all your details, addresses, banking details, etc. are correct with SARS, make sure you ask them for interest if they don't pay you within the 21 business days. 

You ask – NO - you demand. 

Don't be blown down by their 'spin language' of 'refund dashboards', 'management system tools' and 'tracking documents'.  SARS has to keep to the Law too!

At the end of the day, in spite of new tools, systems and trackings, 21 business days is 21 business days. And if you have brought your side, you demand your interest!

Find out how to get your Vat refund in 21 days click  here...

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