Tax Updates 19/02/2021

Tax Update 19/02/2021

Upcoming Budget Speech 2021

2021 Budget Speech (which will normally affect tax processes and law from 01/03/2021 onwards will be available on Treasury Website or SARS Budget Page

Updated: Retirement withdrawal rules – delays in processing FIA and TCS applications and concerns about the new rules.

A matter that has been raised continually in the last few weeks through the TaxHelpline, is the delays in processing FIA and TCS applications.

The retirement withdrawal rules associated with emigration were amended as part of the annual taxation laws amendment process in 2020. The amendment comes into effect on 1 March 2021. The imminent
deadline has resulted in various bottlenecks in the process, as taxpayers attempt to withdraw their retirement interest under the current legislation.

Delays in the verification of supporting documentation

This matter continues to drive queries sent to SAIT: At the SARS/RCB Gauteng North Regional Meeting held on 16 February 2021, SARS acknowledged that there is a backlog concerning the verification of supporting documentation. A national project has been launched and cases have been opened to and made accessible to other offices to enable the
processing of the backlog by the end of March 2021.

Power of Attorney – what does SARS require?

SAIT has engaged with SARS on the inconsistent requirements applied in practice concerning copies of ID documents and Power of Attorneys (POA’s). SAIT requested that SARS clarify the requirements in respect of both practitioner documents (ID and POA) in the published External Guide. At the SARS/RCB Gauteng North Regional Meeting held on 16 February 2021, SARS informed the meeting that SARS is busy updating the requirements for virtual appointments as
far as copies of ID documents and POA’s are concerned. SARS further indicated that

Copies must be certified in the future.

Standing of tax practitioners

From a practical perspective, administrative staff and tax practitioners acting within the mandate provided by a taxpayer will often assist the tax practitioner on record to manage the taxpayer’s tax affairs. However, since November 2020, the SARS Contact Centre has been refusing to assist anyone other than the registered tax practitioner linked to the taxpayer’s eFiling profile. SAIT has raised this matter further with SARS and we continue to follow up. Considering the inherent risk for SARS in ensuring that only authorised individuals operate on a taxpayer’s account, it may take some time for this matter to be resolved.

Delays in refunds being processed

The RCB Forum has identified and escalated the delays in the processing of income tax and VAT refunds to SARS by way of submission.

Individual Provisional Taxpayer Deadline 15/02/2021

The 15 February 2021, extended deadline for provisional taxpayers who file electronically via eFiling has passed. However, despite the extension granted, some taxpayers have still not submitted their tax returns.

Section 95(1) of the Tax Administration Act, No. 28 of 2011 (the TAA), which deals with the estimation of assessments, provides that SARS may make an assessment based in whole or in part on an estimate if the taxpayer fails to submit a return as required, or submits a return or information that is incorrect or inadequate.

SARS must make the estimate based on information readily available to it (section 95(2) of the TAA). By issuing an estimated assessment, SARS is able to initiate collection steps against a taxpayer on the basis of an estimation of tax liabilities. During the second week of February 2021, SARS sent the following SMS to taxpayers who had not yet
responded to their ‘auto-assessments’:

Dear ABC MAKEKE 091XXXXXXX, during the 2020 Filing Season, you were selected to participate in SARS Auto-Assessment initiative. We notice that you have not yet elected to accept SARS auto assessment or file your tax
return for the 2020 tax year. You still have an opportunity to do so until SARS makes an estimated assessment. We urge you to make use of this opportunity. Should you not do so, SARS will be making an estimated assessment,
based on the data at our disposal, on 19 February 2021. Should you file a return after this date, you would be subject to a penalty for the late submission of your return. Regards, SARS

It is recommended that taxpayers and tax practitioners take note of the impact of estimated assessments.

The suspension of physical visits to SARS branches has been lifted

SARS will reopen its branch offices as from 17 February 2021 to serve the public. Members are urged to take note of the following:
• Bookings can only be made via the SARS website, follow the link – Bookings
• All virtual bookings via the SARS website will continue to be honoured via a virtual engagement (MS Teams or telephonic engagement).
• The SARS Contact Centre will continue to service any queries from members of the public.
• All South African Ports of Entry manned by SARS customs officials will continue to operate.
• Strict social distance measures will apply, and all members of the public are required to wear masks at all times when entering any SARS building or engaging with any customs officials. No access will be allowed without the wearing of a mask.

Adobe Flash Player problems resolved

SARS would like to remind taxpayers that the implementation of the SARS browser is a temporary solution until the affected forms are available on all browsers. Access the published guide on how to download the SARS Browser.
SARS would like to assure taxpayers that the newly introduced browser is an approved software, implemented in
partnership with Adobe’s service provider partners.

The SARS Browser is not a requirement for all forms and activity on eFiling. eFilers will still be able to complete other interactions with SARS regarding forms and processes that are unrelated to Adobe Flash Player with their browser of choice or via the Mobi-App. You can access the published manual concerning the return and submission of HTML5 forms via eFiling.

SARS is currently working on an Apple Mac version which will be made available soon.

The SARS Browser has been limited to only allow access to the SARS website and general browsing is not permitted. SARS recommends that users keep their existing security software or antivirus updated.

SARS is continuing to migrate the remaining forms to HTML; the forms listed below still require users to download the interim browser:

The source of the above information is thanks to SAIT.