How to Handle a SARS Tax Audit in South Africa

By | April 30, 2023

If you are a taxpayer in South Africa, you may find yourself subjected to a SARS tax audit. This can be a daunting experience, but it does not have to be. 

In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to handle a SARS tax audit in South Africa. 

We will cover everything from preparing for the audit to responding to SARS’ requests, and ultimately resolving the audit.

SARS Tax Audit

A SARS tax audit is an investigation into a taxpayer’s financial affairs. SARS conducts audits to ensure that taxpayers are complying with South Africa’s tax laws and regulations. 

The audit can be conducted on any type of taxpayer, including individuals, trusts, companies, and partnerships.

Preparing for a SARS Tax Audit

The key to handling a SARS tax audit is preparation. You should start preparing for the audit as soon as you receive notice from SARS. 

The notice will typically provide you with the date, time, and location of the audit, as well as a list of documents that you will need to provide. 

Here are some steps you can take to prepare for the audit:

1. Review Your Tax Returns

The first thing you should do is review your tax returns. Make sure that all of the information you provided is accurate and complete.

 If you find any errors or omissions, you should correct them as soon as possible.

2. Gather All Relevant Documents

The next step is to gather all of the relevant documents that SARS has requested. 

This may include bank statements, invoices, receipts, and other financial records. Make sure that you have all of the documents organized and easily accessible.

3. Get Professional Help

If you are not comfortable handling the audit on your own, consider getting professional help. 

A tax professional, such as a tax attorney or accountant, can help you navigate the audit process and ensure that your rights are protected.

Responding to SARS’ Requests

During the audit, SARS will request various documents and information from you. It’s important to respond to these requests promptly and accurately. Here are some tips for responding to SARS’ requests:

  •  Be Honest and Accurate: If you provide false or misleading information, you could face penalties or even criminal charges.
  • Provide Only What is Requested: Providing additional information could raise further questions and prolong the audit process.
  • Ask for Clarification: If you are unsure about what SARS is requesting, ask for clarification. It is better to ask for clarification than to provide the wrong information.

Resolving the Audit

Once the audit is complete, SARS will issue an assessment. The assessment will indicate whether you owe additional taxes, interest, and penalties. 

If you disagree with the assessment, you have the right to dispute it. Here’s how you can resolve the audit:

Step 1: Review the Assessment

The first step is to review the assessment. Make sure that all of the information is accurate and complete. If you disagree with the assessment, you can dispute it.

Step 2: File an Objection

To dispute the assessment, you will need to file an objection with SARS. 

The objection should include a detailed explanation of why you disagree with the assessment, as well as any supporting documents.

Step 3: Wait for SARS’ Response

SARS will review your objection and respond with a decision. If SARS upholds the assessment, you can appeal the decision to the Tax Court.

Step 4: Pay or Negotiate

If SARS determines that you owe additional taxes, interest, and penalties, you will need to pay them. 

However, if you are unable to pay the full amount, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan with SARS.

RELATED POST: How to file your South African tax return online

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