Objections are often submitted late and, as tax dispute resolution experts, Unicus has probably heard all the reasons for objections being late. Unfortunately, getting condonation from SARS for a late objection has become increasingly difficult, probably, in part, because of the relatively new 80-day time period for objections. Another reason we see for SARS’ refusal to grant condonation is because of the lack of understanding (often on the part of both SARS and the taxpayer) of when condonation can be granted.
Standard time period for objections:
Objections should be submitted 80 days from the date of assessment (in the case of assessments issued post 10/03/2023 and certain assessments issued pre 10/03/2023). The days referred to here are not calendar days, nor are they normal business days. They are business days as defined in the Tax Administration Act (which is not the same thing as normal business days).
If you object within this 80-day period, you don’t need to request condonation. To make sure you are in time with your objection, have a look at Unicus Tax’s Tax Dispute Resolution app which will help you correctly count the days and tell you when an objection is due for free.
Extensions for objections and condonation
It is only when you are submitting outside the standard 80-day time period that you need to request condonation. How late you are dictates what you need to prove to get condonation. Naturally, the later you are, the more difficult it is to get condonation.
If you are not more than 30 business days late with an objection, you need to prove that there are reasonable grounds for the delay in submitting the objection to secure condonation. Stated differently, if more than 80 days have lapsed from the date of assessment but not more than 110 days (i.e. 80 + 30), advance reasonable grounds to secure condonation.
If you are more than the additional 30 business days late, you need to prove exceptional circumstances prevented the timely submission of the objection. Stated differently, if more than 110 days have lapsed from the date of assessment, advance exceptional circumstances to secure condonation. Bear in mind that SARS cannot condone an objection filed more than three years from date of assessment (this three-year period is not a reference to prescription for those who want to point out the 5 year prescription period in the case of self-assessments).
In summary then:
- less than 110 days from date of assessment but more than 80 days: advance reasonable grounds
- more than 110 days from date of assessment but less than three years: advance exceptional circumstances.
Obvious from the above is that the days dictate when you should raise what to get condonation. The Unicus Tax Dispute Resolution App helps you determine how many TAA dispute days have lapsed between two dates which is useful for various things, including to check whether you should be raising reasonable grounds or exceptional circumstances to get condonation and indeed to check if you are not perhaps still on time.