The tax dispute process is strictly regulated by the Tax Administration Act (TAA) and a set of rules. The TAA and the rules set out what a taxpayer must do and what SARS must do if the taxpayer challenges SARS. In addition, the TAA and the rules prescribe time periods for almost every step in the process that both the taxpayer and SARS must comply with. For instance, if the taxpayer wants to object, the taxpayer must do so within a set number of days, and SARS must respond to same within a set number of days.
Taxpayers and their advisors often underestimate the relevance of SARS’ non-compliance with these time periods. What I mean when I say that is simply this: few seem to pay enough attention to SARS’ non-compliance with time periods. Apart from the obvious default judgment remedy, SARS’ non-compliance with time periods can be very useful in a tax dispute. It can negate the need for the taxpayer to request condonation, it can be used as a tool to negotiate settlement and as part of the overall strategy in a dispute to mention a few. The Unicus Tax Teams’ firm grasp of prescribed steps and time periods in the dispute process has undoubtedly contributed to our impeccable track record of resolving tax disputes in favour of taxpayers 100% of the time (at the time of drafting).
Of course, knowing when SARS is not complying with time periods means taxpayers and their advisors must first know what the prescribed steps are and what the prescribed periods are for each of those steps. Secondly, they must know how to count the prescribed number of days for each of the prescribed steps. Indeed, in my experience, something as “easy” as counting the days is often done incorrectly. Get this wrong, and you will end up with a red face (to say the least).
Unicus Tax’s Tax Dispute Resolution Application is a free to use tax dispute resolution application which provides guidance on the steps in the tax dispute process, sets out the periods relevant to each step (for both taxpayer and SARS) and calculates due dates in line with the method prescribed for counting objection and appeal days in the TAA.
Whilst there are many days calculators out there, I have not found one that counts business days as defined in the TAA. Bear in mind that “TAA business days” and “normal business days” is not the same thing. Our application does not count “normal business days”, it counts “TAA business days”.
Also, while I have your attention (for now), our application allows you to quickly and easily check SARS’ calculation of the two most common penalties encountered in tax dispute resolution: provisional tax underestimation penalties and understatement penalties.
Lastly, before you move along, we have also made available, through our application, templates for drafting grounds for objection and requesting reasons for an assessment, to mention two. These, though, you have to pay for. The templates offer a structured way of responding to SARS and provide tips along the way.