- All obligations have been met and no other debt is due;
- SARS administrative control procedures are adhered to; and
- No inspection, verification or audit is required or has been initiated.
Other welcome proposals are SARS’s endeavour to speedily finalise inspections, audits and verifications as well as providing feedback to taxpayers regarding debt suspension and compromise of tax debts within a reasonable time. If adhered to, this will go a long way in removing the uncertainty and anxiety that often goes along with disputes.
It is however, important to note that as much as the Service Charter is an expression by SARS of expected timelines and the quality of service it wishes to offer taxpayers, the content of the Service Charter does not override legislation and SARS specifically includes this disclaimer. There still appears to be a lack of real substantive rights and recourse mechanisms available to taxpayers. Many of the commitments seem vague and non-committal. The primary dispute resolution options and relief available to taxpayers for disputes with SARS therefore remain the provisions of relevant tax acts, as well as the Office of the Tax Ombud. Although it is recommended that taxpayers familiarise themselves with the contents of the Service Charter, they should be weary if simply relying on the content of the Service Charter and should always ensure that they know what their rights are in terms of legislation.
Taxpayers should also remain hopeful that a taxpayer Bill of Rights is developed over time, as recommended by the Davis Tax Committee in its September 2017 report to the Minister of Finance. In terms of this report, taxpayers should have guaranteed rights that are enforceable and have legal effect, since rights are of no value if they cannot be enforced. Although this appears to be one of the shortcomings of the Service Charter, it could be a preamble to what may ultimately develop into a positive set of rules that promote taxpayer confidence.
 28 of 2011
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)