Changing banking details with SARS

In order to prevent fraud, the South African Revenue Service (“SARS”) requires confirmation of new or any changes to existing banking details and will only process any refunds due once these new details have been verified. (This often leads to frustration among taxpayers whose refunds are being withheld without notification of banking details that require verification.)

Taxpayers have various options available on how to proceed with this verification process. It can either be done in person at any SARS branch (if the person is not registered on eFiling) or the details can, in limited instances, be updated when completing the person’s income tax return (for both individuals and companies). The banking details can also be updated when requesting a transfer duty refund or by completing the relevant RAV01 form[1] on eFiling. SARS will not allow updates to the SARS system via other forms of communication (e.g. email, fax, post[2] or telephone).

Registering or changing of banking details for customs and excise clients cannot be done via eFiling. These taxpayers need to visit a SARS branch office and submit a completed DA185 application form[3] together with specific supporting documentation.

SARS will only accept as a valid bank account a cheque, savings or transmission account in the name of the relevant taxpayer. Credit card, bond and foreign bank accounts are not accepted.

Persons that are allowed to change banking details only include the relevant taxpayer, a registered representative of that taxpayer (whose details match those on the SARS system) or a registered tax practitioner acting on behalf of the taxpayer. A tax practitioner may not further delegate an employee to act on behalf of the client, but needs to be present him- or herself to request the necessary changes.[4] SARS lists certain exceptional circumstances where banking details may be changed by someone other than the aforementioned persons (for example, in the case of estates or where the taxpayer is a non-resident unable to go to a branch office).

SARS also provides detailed guidance on the supporting documentation what should be provided when changing banking details. Typically, this includes the original ID document of the taxpayer, a certified copy of that document and proof of the residential or business address of the taxpayer. The same is required of the registered representative or tax practitioner if applicable. SARS also requires the taxpayer to present bank statements of the account holder (not older than 3 months) as proof thereof that the bank details provided are correct.

To avoid having to stand in those long SARS queues (potentially, more than once) ask us to assist with this process.

[1] Registration, Amendment and Verification form

[2] This also includes placing documents in the drop-box at a SARS branch.

[3] Registration / Licensing of Customs and Excise

[4] See form ASPOA – Authority on Special Power of Attorney by Tax Practitioner.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)