TAX MATTERS: Ombud flags repeat taxpayer verification, dispute resolution delays and debt offsets as concerns for SARS

Post shared courtesy of: Marianne Merten | https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/

“Finalising income tax return verifications is one of three systemic concerns of the Tax Ombud, as illustrated by Fairness for All Case 13, or the taxpayer whom the tax collector verified five times in one year on the same 2021 tax return.

A tax refund of R4,940.29 was finally paid on 19 March 2022 after the Office of the Tax Ombud recommended to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) that the 2021 income tax matter must be finalised, and due refunds be paid.

“Taxpayers need to note that SARS is legally allowed to conduct verification, but if they feel the repeated verifications are unreasonable, as in this case, they can approach the Tax Ombud for assistance,” said the Lesson Learnt case notes.

The taxpayer at the heart of Fairness for All Case 13 had complained to the Tax Ombud because after being selected for verification on 30 June 2021, and submitting the requested documents eight days later, this process happened five times until 16 March 2022 — without changes to the outcome. In August 2021, just two days lapsed between the income tax verification being finalised and then restarted.

“SARS had instituted repeated income tax verifications, thus delaying the finalisation of the verification process and the payment of tax refund due to the taxpayer,” the Tax Ombud found.

Fairness for All Case 13 was chosen because it, like others — case 12 was on diesel refunds — illustrates a trend that is of concern to the Tax Ombud…”

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